I spent 32 hours in the waters of Homosassa Bay this last week. There were three boats and 11 people in our group of scallop adventurers. It seemed as if I covered 1 acre each hour I was in the water….maybe more for the others as some were much younger and could see better. I noticed a few important things:

• Scallop gathering is a lot like Easter Egg Hunting, but for adults and done in 3 to 5 feet of water;

• The people of the Homosassa Springs area love people… love them being there and are really helpful and sincere;

• The waterways….dangerous at best… are super well marked and patrolled by the friendliest officers; and

• Between all of us and all of our hours under the water, we found just three beer cans….and that was all!!!

The people of Homosassa Springs love their water, respect their water, and make those who use their water want to do the same. This is successful tourism and Best Practices water management and should be part of every town that wants to be a tourist area. .

I cannot believe that we have such a large Marine Industry and Fishing Industry here and yet all they do for cleaning our waters is to follow the Clean Water Act to the letter. Is that proactive and respectful of our most important natural resource? Does a shore-line cleanup one day a year really address the amounts of debris the patrons of their industries produce? It does not touch the 11 year collection rate of MCII… that being 30,000 pound average. Our collection numbers are increasing every year. This is the wrong direction!

The Marine Industry and the Fishing Industry are not the enemies, the debris is; and the thoughtless discarding of materials into our waterways is the crime. It does not seem reasonable for these industries to whitewash this problem with a few hours of work and then a party. With the money spent on their annual post event party, MCII could fund 45 working days of actual debris removal. Is this Best Practices?

Congratulations to the people of Homosassa Springs for grasping what these businesses are missing. That being: Working together to create a mentality regarding the actual important issue… our section of this planet… over doing the least yet legal amount to get by. Come on people. Your pollution is ruining the water for everyone and your clients need some training on how to correct that. Is a little cooperation really that hard to come by?