Recently I had the pleasure of fishing with local fishing celebrity Gary Finch of the Gary Finch Outdoors TV show. When I first met Gary, he was speaking to a crowd about ocean conservation, and before too long we scheduled a fishing trip together. Little did I know we were going out with one of the best boat captains in south Alabama, William Manci of Eastern Shore Outfitters.
My colleague Bethany Kraft and I arrived at the boat launch ready to enjoy a great day of fishing. The weather was perfect–warm with a hint of fall in the air. As we headed out into Mobile Bay, the water was as smooth as glass. Dolphins played in the boat wake, and pelicans dove for breakfast as we skimmed across the water. We anchored near a natural gas rig and put our game faces on. Soon we were catching speckled trout and a few white trout. As the day went on, the fish got bigger and feistier, and we started catching Spanish mackerel. I got a bite just about every time I threw my line in the water. It was amazing!
As we headed back toward Weeks Bay, I couldn’t help but reflect on the day’s events. I thought about how exciting it was just being out on the water catching fish and the contentment that comes from being surrounded by the beauty of the bay and the creatures in and around it– all the things we science folks call natural resources. It sounds corny, but each time I’m out on the water I’m reminded how much I love this place. These natural resources belong to everyone and should be available for everyone, including future generations, to enjoy.
With the passing of the RESTORE Act , the federal government determined that the Clean Water Act Fines resulting from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster should come back to the Gulf region for ecosystem restoration. This puts citizens like you and me in a powerful position to protect the places we love. It is up to us to tell our elected officials what we want for the future of our natural resources both inshore and offshore. Each Gulf state has a governing body that will manage these funds. Find out who the local leaders are in your state, and let them know your thoughts on restoring and conserving these precious resources. You can check your local PBS station for airings of Gary Finch Outdoors, and stay tuned to our website for more on how you can help restore the Gulf of Mexico.