The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s report released this week gives Florida Bay seagrass an overall color-coded “green” rating, indicating a healthy or improving system.
Research for the Florida Bay report, including aerial mapping and surveys, is based on the most recent information available. But in Florida Bay’s case, that monitoring data relies heavily on science ending in 2011 to 2014.
“It’s a great report but it doesn’t apply to what’s happening now,” said Xavier Figueredo, an Islamorada fishing guide and founding board member of the Florida Bay Forever advocacy group. “The 2015 die-off is worse than the 1980s die-off. It’s devastating.”
“It’s a lag in the collection of data…. Sometimes that’s just the way science works,” said Jim Fourqurean, a leading seagrass ecologist at Florida International University who frequently consults with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
“There was no attempt or intent to deceive or to minimize,” said Fourqurean, who is involved with the bay research but did not write the final version. “The scientists at FWC understand the resources; they know what’s happening.”
Source: Florida Keys News