Monday, August 20, 2018

THE INDIAN RIVER LAGOON

The creators of Addictive Fishing Television, Capt. Blair Wiggins and Executive Producer Kevin McCabe, grew up in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The pair used to go camping on the islands of the Banana River with Blair's family. Overnight camping trips meant catching their own fish and wading for clams to eat at night. They grew up learning how to respect Mother Nature, how to take care of their surroundings and some of the best life lessons were learned on Florida's Space Coast. A few months back, Capt. Blair and the AF crew were fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon filming an episode with Capt. Leiza Fitzgerald of CCA Florida. They caught 2 very small fish in the 2 days they were there. They witnessed so many drastic and devastating changes, for example; brown algae, no grass, no horseshoe crabs, few manatees, and overall dirty water. Capt. Blair and Kevin left the shoot and from that day something needed to be done, and so the quest began. The quest to return the Northern IRL to the way it once was - healthy. 

Blair Wiggins, Kevin McCabe - 1978
Immediately Kevin and Patrice McCabe began looking to assemble a team of experts, sponsors and volunteers to help turn the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) system around. Florida east coast estuaries, especially the IRL, are currently suffering from major water quality issues due to watershed over-drainage and subsequent eutrophication.  Understanding the relationships between shellfish populations and water quality is critical to defining restoration success.  Clams are an integral component of healthy productive seagrass beds in the IRL, playing a role in nutrient cycling for the seabed, seabed life, and the water column.

Discussions with the CCA of Florida began immediately following the annual industry ICAST convention in July. Researching of other successful clam restoration projects became a clear focal point. Through our research, we discovered that there were proposals out there already that simply needed funding and the support behind it to launch. 

Things have moved along quickly, and a team has been put together which includes the FWC and University of Florida. In short, they actually have 2 proposals out there for clam restoration; one scaled-down version and the full large scale project.  Their goal is to establish significant clam beds in the lagoon again and to support long-term growth of the clams.  This would include collecting and re-seeding native clams in a hatchery. 

WE NEED YOUR HELP. We need to raise a minimum of $120,000.00 to get the ball rolling. Are you in? We’re tired of talking and we’re ready (and have our team assembled) to get working on the solution.