An Unfavorable Tide: Global Warming, Coastal Habitats and Sportfishing in Florida

Sea-level rise and other changes could impact Florida's coastal habitats, especially the recreational saltwater fisheries they support

06-01-2006 // Patty Glick and Jonathan Clough
An Unfavorable Tide Report Cover

Florida’s coasts and the numerous ecological and economic resources they provide are invaluable to the tens of millions of people who live in Florida or visit the state each year. No other state offers more opportunities to boat, dive or fish such a diverse marine environment than Florida.

In 2005, anglers spent $3.3 billion on saltwater recreational fishing in the state, supporting nearly 60,000 jobs. Florida has truly earned its reputation as "Fishing Capital of the World."

But that reputation is in jeopardy due to global warming.

>> Download "An Unfavorable Tide: Global Warming, Coastal Habitats and Sportfishing in Florida" (pdf)

This report provides the latest information about global warming and how associated sea-level rise and other changes would likely affect Florida's coastal habitats, with a particular emphasis on the recreational saltwater fisheries they support. For nine sites along Florida's coasts project that, models project that if global warming continues unabated, it could: 

  • Dramatically alter the extent and composition of important coastal habitats, due to rises in sea-level.
  • Lead to a rise in marine diseases.
  • Increase the number of harmful algal blooms.
  • Cause more extreme rainfall patterns and stronger hurricanes.

All of these impacts would have a significant impact on the state’s prime fisheries.

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