Industry Experts Predict Everglades Funding Will Boost Florida’s Fishing Tourism

At the start of the current legislative session, Gov. Ron DeSantis outlined his plan for Everglades restoration and water projects, calling for $625 million to back then.

Now midway through the session, the governor will get his request and possibly more.

The state Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee announced spending measures of $161 million more than DeSantis’ budget. The Senate proposal comes out to $6.1 billion which would include $786 million for Everglades restoration and specific water projects.

“This is a great time for Everglades restoration. Since day one, this governor has been in office, he has kept his promises on meeting the needs of the Everglades,” said Eric Eikenberg, the CEO of the Everglades Foundation.

The Florida fishing community is praising the additional funds. The fishing industry has been an advocate for cleaner water and has supported the Everglades Foundation for its efforts. The American Sportfishing Association and Keep Florida Fishing have partnered with the Everglades Foundation on lobbying for federal and state funds for water quality. The fishing associations insist the funds are needed to continue to help bring fishermen to visit the Sunshine State.

Vic Tyson, a professional fishing guide in North Florida and the host of a radio show, said funds for water projects and restoring the Everglades continue to showcase Florida as the top destination for fishing in the nation.

“When tourists come to Florida, not only do they expect great weather but also great fishing,” he said. “When there are fish kills from the environment and nothing gets done to deal with the problem, then tourism in the fishing community will see a downturn.”

Tyson noted that others in the fishing industry have applauded the relationship between DeSantis and the Everglades Foundation, especially on water quality issues.

“Over the last couple of years, there just seems to be more of an awareness of taking care of our environment and natural resources,” said Tyson.

Elected officials have also mentioned that money for Everglades restoration and other state water projects could be funded through the latest stimulus bill that President Joe Biden signed into law earlier this month.

 

Reach Ed Dean at ed.dean@floridadaily.com.

 

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