Boaters can’t even imagine their negligence and inexperience can lead to damaging crucial habitat important to fishing industries. And the Florida boaters are exactly doing this to the fragile seagrass in the shallow Florida Bay, a conservation advocacy group declared.
The bay comprises about a third of Everglades National Park. The seagrass beds feed pink shrimp, redfish and other marine life. An area about twice the size of Los Angeles, the beds cover about 800 square miles at the bay’s bottom. Visible through the bay’s clear waters in aerial photographs, a matrix of scars crisscrosses those beds, advocates inform.
This happens as boaters — misreading their maps, running aground or taking shortcuts outside marked channels — cut those wide swaths across seagrass beds. This has been studied by the National Parks Conservation Association, an independent organization that advocates for the National Park Service.