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Guess who is at root of water woes

February 26, 2016
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

My client called from Pennsylvania and said, I hear the fishing's pretty much over down there. I guess I should cancel?

I'm still catching fish, but not always in my normal spots. But I'm still catching, I replied.

Are you sure? The TV reports up here look pretty grim!

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison


Thankfully, I still have my longtime repeat clients who take stock in my reports. Those families here on vacation watching the evening news and that were considering calling me for a first-time fishing trip, boating services, animal watch, or calling others for boat/kayak rentals, aren't calling. Then consider the whole web of connecting services, gas, bait, food, lodging, transportation, etc. As business people, it's putting a hurting on all of us.

These same folks also will leave with a bad taste in their mouths rethinking future plans to return to our paradise and spreading the word back home.

Being in the area for nearly two decades and being alive on this beautiful crazy planet for many more, a few things have become clear. Money and the quest for power in its many forms rules and corrupts. The squeaking wheel gets the grease. A politician's best friend is an uninformed and uncaring taxpayer willing to grumble a little over dinner, but never take the time to actually get involved.

I've listened to many sides trying to get informed and most I speak with agree that the issue is about keeping water levels at a desirable height to facilitate the sugar industry. This has resulted in the poisoning of two rivers, damage to the Everglades, which also is directly related to the health of Florida Bay on to the Keys, health consequences for animal and human life, red tides, and economic damage all-round.

We taxpayers subsidize the industry that is causing the problem.

From Forbes Magazine, "The sugar program is essentially a producer cartel run out of Washington. The Agriculture Dept. operates a complex loan program to guarantee sugar growers certain prices, which it enforces with import barriers and domestic production controls."

These import barriers prevent cheaper foreign sugar from putting downward pressure on US sugar producers.

Kraft, Hershey's, Brach's, and other huge candy makers have left the US to relocate in Mexico and Canada to take advantage of lower sugar prices. American jobs go away while the huge sugar industry lobby continues to load local, State, and Federal officials' socks full of sweet, sweet, sugar.

What else could it be? You mean to tell me that politicians aren't acting in the taxpayers' best interests? Allowing the sugar industry to ruin our rivers, wildlife, health and economy just to benefit an industry that would see their profits fall, or even collapse, if it had to actually compete without the help of trade barriers provided by "sweetened" politicians? Our government really couldn't be doing this to us, could they? What's new?

Lately, with more light shined upon this Washington sweet deal debacle and increasing involvement locally we are seeing movement. The problem starts in Washington as neither party will stop the subsidy program.

There is only one path for water to flow and that's South through The Everglades then on to Florida Bay and The Keys as was intended.

Get involved, stand up! Call, write, protest as it does work. Make a difference, otherwise this will continue to drag on for many more years as our taxpayer subsidized sugar industry and lobby sweetened politicians continue to hold Americans and our precious resources hostage.

Find clean water and you'll probably find your fish. Think deep, slow, and shrimpy.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or, or



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