Calusa Waterkeeper on what to know about macroalgae at Matlacha

Published: March 31, 2022 6:32 PM EDT
Updated: April 1, 2022 3:45 PM EDT

A stench is coming from algae in one part of Southwest Florida. And now, that smell is affecting businesses and fishing.

The Calusa Waterkeeper is arming you with what you need to know about this algae.

Unsightly, algae is all too common during this time of year. And while the look is one thing, the smell is something completely different.

Calusa waterkeeper John Cassani says macroalgae is showing up all across Matlacha. He describes it as a green grass mat over the water. “The most obvious visual, mats of this algae or this floating mats. They just almost look like vomit in the water. They’re just aggregated environments matter,” Cassani said.

This isn’t a view anyone wants, and it’s not water that fishermen want to test. Doug Root with D&D Bait Matlacha bait and tackle shop says the algae is coming up while they’re trying to fish. “You’re going out there to fish and stuff, so every cast, if your casting it’s getting caught up in these big grass balls or your line is getting caught and swept away in the grass and stuff,” said Root.

Forest Sulck is a fisherman. “Charter captains and all these other businesses are going to lose business if clients don’t want to come here to fish,” Sulck said.

Back over at D&D bait shop, they say their biggest concerns are the environment and fish.

“This is a possibility every single year, and I think it’s in the back of a lot of our minds. God forbid that will happen,” Root said.

“When the stuff floats up to the surface, and it starts to decompose, then that creates a terribly awful no smell that you’ll never forget after you’ve smelled it. It’s really awful,” said Cassani.