Toxic Water: Boat captain to file lost wages claim with Army Corps

Mike Conner said he could lose thousands in income

STUART, Fla. - A Treasure Coast charter fishing boat captain says his business is floundering because of toxic algae in the water. Captain Mike Conner says he will now take his fight to the Army Corps of Engineers in hopes of being reimbursed for lost wages.

Conner said he is not making any money because of what is in the water in and around the St. Lucie Estuary. He said he is calling on other businesses owners feeling the impact to join him in keeping their livelihoods afloat.

Conner will soon file a claim with the Army Corps of Engineers for lost wages. He said he wants the income he lost because of the toxic algae must be reimbursed.

Capt. Conner's 17 foot vessel is not large enough for off-shore fishing chargers. He is confined to the in-shore waterways, many of which are impacted be high levels of bacteria. Huge discharges from the C44 canal ordered by the Army Corps of Engineers have lead to the current condition of the water in the area.

"Every action that a government agency takes comes with a cost," said Conner. "They're protecting lives around Okeechobee. I commend that. That's number one in my mind, but it comes with a cost," he said. "When you help one community, you may adversely affect another and they've done that."

Conner even went to the Stuart office of U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy on Monday to express concern about what is happening to some Treasure Coast businesses. Conner said he could lose tens of thousands of dollars in the coming months.

He has not yet filed his claim against the Army Corps of Engineers. Conner said that could happen as early as this week.


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