Water-based businesses feeling algae impact

TREASURE COAST, Fla. - Business owners on the water say making ends meet in the Treasure Coast is near impossible right now as tourists steer clear of green algae.

Capt. Bill Taylor of Black Dog Fishing says fish aren't biting, and that's a problem when you're in the fishing business.

"I haven't seen it this bad in the eighteen years I've been doing this," said Taylor.

His scopes show fish are underneath, but bait goes uneaten.

Over the last five days, he's noticed a green hue and suspect it's algae-laden water drifting from the St. Lucie inlet and fear it's driving fish away.

"If you don't like the atmosphere at a restaurant you walk into, you're going to go to the next one," said Taylor.
"Fish do the same thing, they migrate until they get to the temperature and conditions that they like."

Taylor says the impact is immediate.

"I didn't take people out Thursday afternoon. If I can't catch them fish, I owe it to them to not take them. But I also have to make a living."

Stuart Scuba started their company a year ago.

Their intention was to operate out of the Treasure Coast.

But they had to abandon ship there.

"Perfectly honest, water should not smell like that," said owner Christy Campbell. "(Tourists) are happy to come and patronize our economy in Martin County, but they do not want to play in the water up there."

Campbell says business is down by a third over the last month, and warn that unless the water clears up, business will dry up.

"We are not close to a crisis we are in a full-blown crisis, " said Campbell.

They say they won't move this boat back up north until the water clears up.

The Palm Beach County Health Department says they're taking samples at thirteen beaches tomorrow from Boca to Jupiter, to figure out whether the algae is drifting south.

But so far, they have not detected algae in Palm Beach County.

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