Nick Wiley leaves FWC after recent years of controversy

Nick Wiley leaves FWC after recent years of controversy

THE DAILY FRAY
November 27, 2017 5:44 pm

After recent years of controversy, Nick Wiley, whose career at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spanned 30 years, is stepping down as executive director to be the chief conservation officer at Ducks Unlimited. MORE-»
As Florida lights up with solar, is clean drinking water out of style?

As Florida lights up with solar, is clean drinking water out of style?

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
November 24, 2017 9:45 pm

For many green-friendly investors who are looking to do right for Florida, businesses involving solar energy and cannabis are shiny stars in their financial telescopes. So is clean drinking water in a state that grew by more than 1,000 new residents each day in 2016 suddenly out of style? MORE-»
Interstate fisheries bosses leave bunker on the hook

Interstate fisheries bosses leave bunker on the hook

THE DAILY FRAY
November 14, 2017 11:00 pm

Menhaden, a fish at the bottom of the ocean’s food chain, is also staying put at the bottom of the menu for Atlantic saltwater fisheries management for at least two more potentially risky years, many stakeholders say. MORE-»
Bimini's Shark Girl is wild about underwater ballet

Bimini's Shark Girl is wild about underwater ballet

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
November 9, 2017 6:30 am

Jillian Morris was free-diving in a shiver of sharks near her home in Bimini when she had a yin and yang moment. The experience was breathless; the photo is now timeless. “Two species of shark,” Morris said, “coexisting in a beautiful ballet.” MORE-»
Conservationist Jillian Morris coaches next wave of shark advocates

Conservationist Jillian Morris coaches next wave of shark advocates

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
November 9, 2017 6:00 am

Jillian Morris, a marine biologist, photographer, and educator, goes diving with sharks as routinely as people commute to work during rush-hour traffic. Each involves mutual respect. The difference is highway driving can be hard on the nerves. MORE-»
Eric Draper named state parks czar; Julie Wraithmell interim director at Audubon Florida

Eric Draper named state parks czar; Julie Wraithmell interim director at Audubon Florida

THE DAILY FRAY
November 4, 2017 10:00 am

Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida for eight years, was named Florida state parks director, filling a post that has been vacant since February and troubled for the past year. MORE-»
In battle for the bunker, it's science and chance for history

In battle for the bunker, it's science and chance for history

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
October 30, 2017 11:15 pm

Healthy U.S. marine fisheries rely on management plans approved by government stewards that keep prized fish in the water and people in business. It mostly works for the saltwater stars such as striped bass, bluefish, and snappers but not as well for forage fish like menhaden, according to scientists, conservationists, and a variety of stakeholders. MORE-»
In the British Virgin Islands, there's ShelterBox after the storm

In the British Virgin Islands, there's ShelterBox after the storm

THE DAILY FRAY
October 17, 2017 7:58 pm

After Hurricane Irma brutalized the British Virgin Islands, the despair was so complete in the sailing capital of the world that prisoners who escaped Her Majesty's Prison in Road Town decided to return. So did some other unpleasant guests, government officials are warning. MORE-»
USF's Hennig, 'Tampa Bay Water Story' make a splash

USF's Hennig, 'Tampa Bay Water Story' make a splash

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
November 9, 2016 9:12 pm

Katy Hennig has always been close to the water. She moved to Sarasota from Long Island, New York, at age 10. She attended the University of Tampa with a swimming scholarship. And this weekend her film, “Tampa Bay Water Story,” is ready for a splash at the Blue Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit in St. Petersburg. MORE-»
State braces for Matthew's assault

State braces for Matthew's assault

THE DAILY FRAY
October 6, 2016 9:36 am

“Environmental conditions appear favorable for continued strengthening today and Matthew is expected to become an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane while it moves over the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the east coast of Florida," the National Hurricane Center said Thursday. MORE-»
Ocean stewards partner to enhance Caribbean corals

Ocean stewards partner to enhance Caribbean corals

THE DAILY FRAY
September 15, 2016 9:02 am

A new coral colonization partnership between Mote Marine Laboratory and the Nature Conservancy is targeting depleted reefs in the Florida Keys and aims to expand to the U.S. Virgin Islands and at least three Caribbean nations, including Cuba. MORE-»
Florida OKs controversial water plan amid public concerns, fracking fears

Florida OKs controversial water plan amid public concerns, fracking fears

THE DAILY FRAY
July 26, 2016 7:23 am

State regulators approved a plan Tuesday that revises Florida's water rules under the federal Clean Water Act in a move that environmentalists say will actually diminish the quality of drinking water and open channels that allow a future in the state for oil and gas fracking. MORE-»
State politicians deflect blame for toxic blue-green algae

State politicians deflect blame for toxic blue-green algae

THE DAILY FRAY
July 8, 2016 11:39 am

The toxic blue-green algae bloom that is fouling Florida’s Treasure Coast is also spawning a noxious release of rhetoric. "We've never been able to get politicians to take real action to protect Florida's waters, and now that a catastrophic bloom is occurring everyone says it's not their fault," an attorney for Earthjustice said. MORE-»
Last generation: SeaWorld ends captive orca breeding and reaction's wild

Last generation: SeaWorld ends captive orca breeding and reaction's wild

THE DAILY FRAY
March 17, 2016 9:30 am

After years of controversy, lawsuits, pressure from environmental groups, and an Oscar-winning film, SeaWorld will stop breeding captive killer whales immediately, the Orlando-based company announced Thursday. On social media, the reaction was swift, contagious, and worldwide. MORE-»
Dolphin named Feeny succumbs to illness

Dolphin named Feeny succumbs to illness

THE DAILY FRAY
October 12, 2015 8:42 am

An Atlantic bottlenose dolphin that was stranded on a sand flat in Tampa Bay in September died early Sunday at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota after intensive rehabilitation efforts, according to a Mote rescue specialist. MORE-»
Young eco caregivers scrub polluted Tortola coastlines

Young eco caregivers scrub polluted Tortola coastlines

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
October 1, 2015 6:21 pm

Romani Christopher arrived at Road Reef in Tortola recently with latex gloves, garbage bags, and an improbable smile. “I think cleaning up our environment is fun,” Ms. Christopher said. “You find a lot of things you’ve never seen.” MORE-»
Tampa’s Seven Seas expands clean water business in Caribbean

Tampa’s Seven Seas expands clean water business in Caribbean

THE DAILY FRAY
August 7, 2015 6:00 pm

Richard Branson, the billionaire entrepreneur and environmentalist, is a believer in Seven Seas Water of Tampa. And Seven Seas Water, a leader in the Caribbean desalination marketplace, is a believer in a troubled water project in the British Virgin Islands, where Branson lives part-time on a 74-acre island. MORE-»
South Florida eco-preneurs ready to spring trap on lionfish

South Florida eco-preneurs ready to spring trap on lionfish

THE DAILY FRAY
August 3, 2015 3:00 pm

A new trap that targets lionfish and is also a potential moneymaker for fishermen and restaurants joined Mote Marine Aquarium on a short list for a lucrative eco grant in the inaugural Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge, organizers said. MORE-»
Forage fishes: Extra sardines, and don't hold the anchovies

Forage fishes: Extra sardines, and don't hold the anchovies

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
June 25, 2015 7:14 pm

Forage fishes are small, schooling fishes that live short, mostly inconspicuous lives. People put anchovies and sardines on pizza not license plates. No one brags about swimming with the scad. There are no T-shirts to save the herring, menhaden, goggle eyes, ballyhoo, or pinfish — are there? “They’re not really glamorous,” a marine conservationist said. MORE-»
Eco summit focuses on ocean health and healthy business

Eco summit focuses on ocean health and healthy business

THE DAILY FRAY
June 18, 2015 2:07 pm

Amy Slate grew up around Miami and loved to watch Flipper and Jacques Cousteau. She was about age 6 and taking a swim with a dolphin on a trip to a Florida Keys marine park when a light went on. It’s still on. MORE-»
Former Bradenton mayor says lawmakers are out of touch

Former Bradenton mayor says lawmakers are out of touch

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
May 30, 2015 3:47 pm

A big oak tree at old Manatee County Courthouse shaded Bill Evers, just barely, before a rally began Saturday for Amendment 1. “They should just go ahead and fund it,” said Evers, Bradenton’s hardnosed mayor for 20 years. “The people want it. What better way can you spend your money than to protect your future?” MORE-»
Federal report says manatees no longer meet definition for endangered status

Federal report says manatees no longer meet definition for endangered status

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
May 22, 2015 7:09 am

Florida's manatee population – for years a focus of intense conservation efforts and public debate – is healthy and expected to double in the next 50 years, no longer meeting the definition of an endangered species, according to a possible policy-changing conservation study by federal wildlife stewards. MORE-»
Birds apparently ticked off at no-feeding policy in Melbourne

Birds apparently ticked off at no-feeding policy in Melbourne

THE DAILY FRAY
March 27, 2015 12:54 pm

Move along. Nothing to see here. That’s the message a group of seemingly ticked-off ducks, geese, seagulls, ibis and other birds are sending in a Melbourne park where people are fond of their feathered friends. MORE-»
Former marine mammal policy boss: Changing manatee status 'premature'

Former marine mammal policy boss: Changing manatee status 'premature'

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
March 24, 2015 6:46 pm

UPDATED (Jan. 7) | The good news is 6,063 Florida manatees were counted in February. And the bad news is 6,063 manatees were counted in February. On Thursday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced plans to reclassify Florida's iconic sea cow from endangered to threatened, intensifying a controversial debate about federal protections. MORE-»
Phillippi Creek and the Great American Cleanup

Phillippi Creek and the Great American Cleanup

THE DAILY FRAY
March 21, 2015 4:26 pm

Phillippi Creek bisects Sarasota's wide residential midsection and empties into the Sarasota Bay Estuarine System at Siesta Key. Last year volunteers fished out 600 pounds of trash, "including a TV, fishing line and lures, and a bizarre assortment of garbage," volunteer Andy Mele said. MORE-»
With populations recovering, Feds downlisting green turtles

With populations recovering, Feds downlisting green turtles

THE DAILY FRAY
March 20, 2015 3:31 pm

The green sea turtle, whose populations in Florida are the second largest in the Western Hemisphere, is up for a demotion of sorts after 37 years on the endangered list. A federal proposal to downlist the sea turtle to a threatened species also calls for a new system of protection. MORE-»
For great white shark's anglers, there might be a catch: FWC

For great white shark's anglers, there might be a catch: FWC

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
March 3, 2015 10:59 pm

The first great white shark caught from a shore in Florida was 9 feet, 8½ inches long. A group of surfcasters shared an hour-long fight to reel in the juvenile Jaws early Tuesday in Panama City. Now they might share liability, according to state wildlife officials. MORE-»
Protesters: Harbour Isle developments threaten mangrove habitat

Protesters: Harbour Isle developments threaten mangrove habitat

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
February 15, 2015 9:00 pm

A mangrove forest at a busy crossroads of development and preservation on Perico Island in Bradenton is the focus of a protest Monday by several environmental groups. MORE-»
Snapper: One-day federal season likely

Snapper: One-day federal season likely

THE DAILY FRAY
February 3, 2015 8:04 pm

For Florida’s pleasure anglers who prize red snapper, the 2015 season for federal waters can be sized up in two words. One day. A chance also exists for no season. Expected to be hit hardest are fishers from Tarpon Springs to Naples, where opportunities for the Gulf's red snapper are the thinnest in the state. MORE-»
Mangrove violations apparent In DEP inspection

Mangrove violations apparent In DEP inspection

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
January 16, 2015 2:50 pm

Terri Wonder ducked under a black mangrove that hugged Palma Sola Bay in Bradenton. Adjacent red mangroves were cropped, apparently illegally. She pointed out a stump and nearby white mangroves. “No matter how you cut it,” Wonder said, “they did something wrong on this property.” MORE-»
For Amendment 1, business begins with a coalition proposal and a website

For Amendment 1, business begins with a coalition proposal and a website

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
January 12, 2015 10:00 pm

With roughly $750 million to spread around this year, lawmakers set up shop last week for Amendment 1, starting with a website to plug in the public. And when the Senate Committee on Environmental Protection and Conservation gathered with chairman Charlie Dean, a coalition of environmental watchdogs was first in line with a proposal. MORE-»
For region's mullet fishermen, it's worth the run

For region's mullet fishermen, it's worth the run

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
December 27, 2014 9:00 pm

Earl Roloff of Bradenton was at a commercial fish house in Cortez Village to buy mullet for bait. Nick Schwarzkopf, Joshua Lipert and Andrew Bibaud of Pinellas County were also at the fish house, unloading a big catch for a modest sale. MORE-»
Mullet run sometimes can be a murky business

Mullet run sometimes can be a murky business

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
December 26, 2014 8:40 pm

The dead fish that washed up in Anna Maria Island early Christmas Day revealed more than the underbellies of mullets along several miles of beaches. At roughly 10 cents a pound the male mullets were not worth the extra weight. MORE-»
Dead fish, apparently mullet, wash up on AMI beaches

Dead fish, apparently mullet, wash up on AMI beaches

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
December 25, 2014 9:22 am

Hundreds of fish -- possibly thousands -- were washed up along several miles of Anna Maria Island shoreline, a grim discovery for dozens of early Christmas Day beachgoers. MORE-»
Cockroach Bay: A new 10-year proposal by DEP

Cockroach Bay: A new 10-year proposal by DEP

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
December 22, 2014 10:15 am

A 10-year management plan for Cockroach Bay Preserve State Park was given a $30,320 tuneup last week and a chance for less controversy after an earlier version was labeled as too soft on exotic plants. MORE-»
Bob Simpson: scientist who ranked hurricanes

Bob Simpson: scientist who ranked hurricanes

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
December 20, 2014 8:30 am

Bob Simpson was head of the National Hurricane Center in Miami when Camille bulldozed into Mississippi Aug. 17, 1969. Under his direction, an experimental computer model was predicting a monster storm surge. When the data was combined with a report from an Air Force WC-130 estimating winds near the eye at 190 mph, last-minute evacuations were ordered. The forecast is hailed for saving hundreds of lives. MORE-»
Fracking deal OK'd for FPL

Fracking deal OK'd for FPL

THE DAILY FRAY
December 18, 2014 4:15 pm

The Public Service Commission approved FP&L's request Thursday for a $191 million joint venture with PetroQuest Energy to drill for natural gas in Oklahoma. FP&L will be allowed to recover its investment through the PSC's fuel cost recovery clause. MORE-»
Florida's ranching: Butcher's perspective in black and white

Florida's ranching: Butcher's perspective in black and white

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
December 13, 2014 9:00 pm

Florida ranchers seem to be a tolerant group. Their land supports vast populations of wildlife, including the rarest. A rich mixture of habitats protect water systems that serve millions. Speculators want to buy it; activists want to save it; and the government wants to tax it. MORE-»
Florida Poly's Peggy Macdonald on Carr's legacy, Florida history, citrus

Florida Poly's Peggy Macdonald on Carr's legacy, Florida history, citrus

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
December 10, 2014 10:00 pm

Peggy Macdonald is Assistant Professor of History at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland. As an author, she focuses on science and innovation for a range of subjects that include Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry and key women in Florida history. Her new book is Marjorie Harris Carr: Defender of Florida’s Environment. MORE-»
For public hearings, ARC could be wider

For public hearings, ARC could be wider

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
December 9, 2014 9:39 pm

House Deputy Majority Leader Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, was just named vice chairman for the Appropriations Committee. Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, is vice-chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources subcommittee under Appropriations. The jobs will keep Boyd and Pilon busy in 2015 with Amendment 1. MORE-»
Red snapper policies under criticism in Congress

Red snapper policies under criticism in Congress

THE DAILY FRAY
December 7, 2014 7:05 pm

A proposal calling for state stewardship of the combative red snapper industry in federal Gulf waters moved forward last week in a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing for natural resources. MORE-»
Manatee concerns around Pinellas Bayway Bridge

Manatee concerns around Pinellas Bayway Bridge

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
December 1, 2014 7:15 pm

St. Pete Beach wants Blind Pass restored to a proposed list of manatee protection zones in western Pinellas County, and state wildlife officials are considering the request. St. Pete Beach also wants the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to include waters around the new Pinellas Bayway Bridge. That's a new conversation. MORE-»
For Florida's exotics, it doesn't get any wilder

For Florida's exotics, it doesn't get any wilder

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
November 23, 2014 12:00 pm

Exotic pets in Florida fit into two categories: the known and the all-too-well-known. Sometimes there’s the unknown. The nonnative animal invasion was going strong in 2006 when the Exotic Pet Amnesty Program was formed. FWC workers roll around the state like a traveling zoo absorb an eye-popping menagerie of ecological evil-doers. MORE-»
Next step OK'd for manatee protection zones

Next step OK'd for manatee protection zones

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
November 21, 2014 7:32 pm

New protection zones for manatees in western Pinellas County moved closer to final approval Thursday at a meeting of the FWC commissioners in Key Largo. But stakeholders who consider the measures excessive will get at least one more say. MORE-»
FWC plans 'Guardians' assault in lionfish fight

FWC plans 'Guardians' assault in lionfish fight

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
November 16, 2014 5:14 pm

When the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission gathers for a summit Nov. 20-21 in Key Largo, lionfish, manatee protection measures in Pinellas County, and red snapper will be on the hotlist. MORE-»
Lee County no place to loll around for manatees

Lee County no place to loll around for manatees

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
November 13, 2014 8:54 pm

One out of four manatee deaths caused by watercraft in Florida occur in Lee County, which surpassed its 2013 mortality count with two lethal strikes in September, according to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. MORE-»
For talk on captive dolphins, panel gets wild

For talk on captive dolphins, panel gets wild

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
November 11, 2014 7:36 pm

For a passionate dolphin advocate like Louie Psihoyos, the idea of a panel to discuss the future of captive dolphins was like a trick question. For a passionate dolphin advocate like David Yates, it probably felt that way MORE-»
Sharks: Stewart leads quest for improved understanding

Sharks: Stewart leads quest for improved understanding

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
November 9, 2014 6:40 pm

The Shark Girl was born seven decades after the Shark Lady and half a world away. The Shark Lady is a native New Yorker and a Ph.D. The Shark Girl is from Australia’s Gold Coast and dropped out of middle school. Each is a world-class diver. And both are devoted, heart and mind and in their hippy souls, to the ocean’s greatest predator. MORE-»
Shark Girl wins top film at Blue Ocean Film Festival

Shark Girl wins top film at Blue Ocean Film Festival

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
November 9, 2014 11:27 am

Madison Stewart wanted to get one thing straight before production began on “Shark Girl,” a film that depicts global misunderstanding and a man-made attack against sharks. “I made them put it in the contract that they weren’t allowed to use the word man-eater in reference to the shark,” said Stewart, a 20-year-old Australian who won the top award at the Blue Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit in St. Petersburg. MORE-»
Anglers feel squeezed by red snapper management policies

Anglers feel squeezed by red snapper management policies

THE DAILY FRAY
October 23, 2014 3:35 pm

The opposition was lined up from Aransas Pass in Texas to the Cortez Bridge and included U.S. senators and congressmen, fish and wildlife authorities from three states, and weekend anglers. But a bitter fight over a controversial federal proposal to overhaul recreational red snapper fishing appears over. MORE-»
Gigantic lionfish takes it on the fin in Sarasota spearfishing event

Gigantic lionfish takes it on the fin in Sarasota spearfishing event

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
September 28, 2014 11:02 pm

Chris Shaffer was diving off Sarasota at a depth of 130 feet. His equipment included a Kudana speargun, custom-designed in polished Burmese teak by local craftsman Stuart Daneman. And like most divers in the third Suncoast Spearfishing Challenge at Marina Jack this past weekend, Shaffer was aiming mostly for grouper, hogfish and mangrove snapper, anything big. “I didn’t want it next to me, I can tell you that,” said Shaffer, 45, from Sarasota. MORE-»
Manatees: Safety first In Pinellas, wildlife officials say

Manatees: Safety first In Pinellas, wildlife officials say

THE DAILY FRAY
September 27, 2014 6:04 pm

Last year was hard on state manatees, when a record 830 died. But as federal officials consider reclassifying the gentle giants as threatened instead of endangered -- a move regarded as overdue by some -- state officials are tapping on the brakes. MORE-»

Put your ocean voyage on cruise control