Sarasota Water 2021, A Wake Up Call

In this episode we look back at the year through the lens of water quality and our aquatic environment. We talk to local leaders about why we’re at a dangerous tipping point, what is being done to to reverse the trend, and what each of us can contribute to the cause of preservation.

Ed Chiles – Audio Interview On Shellfish4Climate

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Why does this matter to somebody in Ohio? The facts are this: 90 plus percent of the seafood that we eat in these United States of America is imported, and 50 percent of that is aquaculture.

And the U.S. has got to be in that game or we’ve got a major food security issue. It won’t be about oil, or it won’t be about bullets, it’ll be about center of the plate protein.

So I think that’s a big reason that everybody has a stake. Everyone has to now do their part because we may be too late. But God help us if we don’t fight like hell to turn the clock back. And I believe we can turn the clock back, but it takes everyone.

It takes the person that’s inland, 40 miles from the coast to determine what they’re going to put on their lawn, and are they going to recycle? And what’s going on in terms of the little creeks and the rivers that are in their area? Because that all contributes. Are they going to grow a garden? And where do they get their food? And are they looking at sustainable issues for seafood?

Everybody needs to be putting their shoulder to the wheel if we’re going to be able to turn this back and I think we can do that and our best days can be ahead. But they can’t be ahead if we’re going to continue on the path that we have been on for the last 20 years. If it’s all about deregulation, we’re not going to get there. If it’s all about jobs at any cost, we’re not going to get there.

But we, as the bivalve aquaculture community, are a big part of the solution. And guess what? We’re the best bang for the buck that there is with a biological solution that brands an area, that provides top-quality, sustainable seafood, that is super healthy, that cleans up water, and promotes the benthic environment. If you want more seagrass, if you want to clean up water, plant bivalves.

And I would also say that every single farmer and person that lives on the east side of the Continental Divide greatly affects what happens in the Gulf of Mexico. So everything we do to change farming practices and to sequester carbon is going to improve what’s coming down the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico.  You want to be able to travel from Indiana and Chicago and everywhere else where they come to Florida, and you want Florida to be healthy or Charleston to be healthy or California to be healthy when you go there.