The Blue Heron Bridge dive site in South Florida is a well loved dive site for divers and underwater photographers alike due to its numerous species and shallow depths. However, it is also a constant target of hobbyist and professional tropical fish collectors - sometimes illegally, but often legally. The issue bubbled to the surface this weekend when a Galveston, Texas-based aquarium, Moody Gardens, employed three professional tropical fish collectors to remove dozens of species from the famous dive site.
The collectors were acting under a legally obtained permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to obtain up to 50 each of over 70 different species. The permit was issued September 27th, but was amended on October 6th to say the collectors could no longer remove species from the Blue Heron Bridge after local divers reported them removing animals exclusively from that location.
This is what Bill Parks, a member of the Florida Marine Life Association, had to say about the incident:
“Technically it was not illegal based on their permit but it was unethical. The divers here are livid.”
Jim Abernathy has also started a Change petition to end collection and removal from Blue Heron Bridge (Phil Foster Park).
You can read the full article here.