Florida's Reefs

Stephen C Jameson sjameson at coralseas.com
Tue Jun 26 09:57:30 EDT 2001


>To all interested:  After receiving the latest list message, I felt
>compelled to write my governor.  None of you know me or who I am.  I have no
>acronyms behind my name, nor do I have any scientific credentials of any
>kind.  I joined this list in the hopes of learning something more about the
>reefs I had fished above as a child, the animals I learned about in high
>school, and the inhabitants I have/plan to have in my aquarium one day.  Not
>to mention, maybe I would learn for later reference good places to dive.
>This list has given me so much more though.  It has opened my eyes to the
>gravity of the reef situation around the world.  I had no idea the problems
>that exist are so profound and severe.  The list has also given me a bit of
>insight as to what scientists look for in the way of reef damage, by
>whatever means.  Perhaps what I have learned thus far and what more I may
>learn until then will make me a more conscientious and courteous diver and a
>better reef aquaria keeper.
>Anyway, here is a copy of what I sent to my governor.  It may seem rather
>elementary, but I actually let my emotions about the subject get in the way
>of my writing.  That isn’t something I usually do; but maybe that emotion as
>a citizen will make it seem more real to the man, vs. someone putting me up
>to it or a group lobbying for it.
>I welcome any thoughts any of you might want to send.  I am just trying to
>do my part, no matter how small.
>Patricia Hunt
>gigi101 at bellsouth.net <mailto:gigi101 at bellsouth.net>
>Dear Mr. Governor,
>            My name is Patricia Hunt and I live in Jacksonville, FL.  I am
>just your average citizen.  I am a 27-year-old wife and a mother of a 2 year
>old.  I have served in the US Army for 4 years (Ft. Hood, TX) and other than
>those 4 years, I have lived here my whole life.
>            As a child, my father took me fishing.  We fished from beaches
>and from docks until he was able to afford a boat.  I spent most summer
>weekends offshore from the age of 6 to 17.  During those years on the water,
>my father taught me about safety and about conserving our resources.  If we
>had no intentions of eating whatever fish we caught, we threw it back.  If
>it was too tired to swim on its own, I watched my father get into the water
>with it (once, a 6’ female tiger shark in addition to others) in order to
>assist its breathing until it could swim away on its own.  I learned about
>the dangers of plastic bags floating in our waters and that sea turtles eat
>them – mistaking them for jellyfish.  I learned that the plastic rings that
>come around soda 6-packs can get caught around birds’ and other animals’
>necks, strangling them to death – so I rip them apart before throwing them
>away.  I learned not to anchor on reefs because it tears them up, killing
>the very place that fish hide in, swim in, and feed in.  I also watched my
>father capture a pelican that had a hook caught in its skin, just below its
>bill, so that we could take the hook (still attached to fishing line) out of
>            From a very young age, a love for the marine environment has
>been instilled in me and nurtured.  I may not have a boat yet, but when I do
>go to the beach with my husband and baby, I find myself picking up trash
>others have left behind.  I want the marine environment to be healthy and
>enjoyable for my son when he is my age.  If I am lucky, he will learn from
>my example to care for his environment the same way my father taught me.  I
>cannot afford to obtain diving certification yet, either.  So instead, I
>have started up my very own marine aquarium.  I want to one day keep corals
>and other invertebrates in my aquarium and have been doing a tremendous
>amount of research on the subject on the Internet.  That is how I became a
>part of             coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
><mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>  .
>            I am not a scientist nor am I even in any profession associated
>with the marine environment, but because I am fighting an algae bloom in my
>aquarium, I found a particular article from this list interesting. It spoke
>of an alleged algae bloom that is allegedly killing off some of Florida’s
>coral reefs and a possible reason behind the algae bloom.  All that was
>needed was some more money from the state in order to research this reason.
>You vetoed this funding, according to the article, because the research
>wouldn’t provide a statewide benefit.
>            As a Florida resident and a registered voter, I am completely
>appalled with this decision.  The last time that I checked, tourism is
>Florida’s number one industry and I am sorry to say, Mickey Mouse isn’t
>Florida’s only tourist attraction.  Divers,
>snorkelers, fishermen, and tourists enjoy healthy reefs and the diverse
>population of fish and other marine life the reefs support. The reef-lovers
>buy dive and snorkel gear, rent boats, hire guides, stay in hotels, rent
>beach houses for weeks and months at a time, eat in restaurants, not to
>mention they spend money on their “land-based” entertainment as well.
>Fishermen spend money on many of the same things.  The “snowbirds” spend
>their money in the winter; the rest of us spend our money in the summer
>            If that is not “statewide” enough to reconsider giving these
>scientists some funding to do their research on my behalf, your behalf, your
>family’s behalf, my son’s behalf, and his children’s behalf, then I truly
>don’t know where your priorities lie.  You say it is on education.  We live
>in Florida and I assure you most of our natural sciences curriculum in high
>school consists of knowledge of what is around us locally.  I am still young
>enough to remember my high-school days and learning about turtle nests,
>manatees, fire coral, Portuguese-Man-O-Wars, and octopus.  Helping to fund
>this research will be funding long term and real life education. If we don’t
>have much of a reef-ecosystem left later to educate our children or our
>grandchildren about, there goes most of my most memorable school lessons
>right out of the education system.  If that happens, have we really done our
>            Another thing, I cannot speak for the rest of the residents that
>enjoy nature in all forms, but after living in Killeen for 3 years I assure
>you I wanted nothing more than to come back to Florida when I got out of the
>service.  I needed to be near the ocean.  I have plans on diving in the
>future.  If I don’t have anything to look at but dead stuff when I do
>finally get down there, I might have to move to Australia or something.  If
>you don’t reconsider funding this research project, I assure you, if Janet
>Reno does run for your position, I will vote for her in a heartbeat.
>            I am sorry this has turned out so long.  I felt the need to
>fully explain my position and why I stand where I do.  I would appreciate a
>response, even a short one; but please do not send me a typical form letter.
>Thank you for your time.
>Patricia Hunt
>Jacksonville, FL

Best regards,

Dr. Stephen C. Jameson, President
Coral Seas Inc. - Integrated Coastal Zone Management
4254 Hungry Run Road, The Plains, VA  20198-1715  USA
Office:  703-754-8690, Fax:  703-754-9139
Email:  sjameson at coralseas.com
Web Site:  www.coralseas.com

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