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Perception is everything for Eco tour operators

Eco tour operators worry about Algae
Posted at 10:31 PM, Jul 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-16 08:28:29-04

John Paeno, says his numbers are down from previous summers at his Bonita Springs kayak shop.

"We're not seeing the European clientele that we usually see this time of year because people think all the beaches are bad," said Paeno, who's shop CGT Kayaks sits next to the Imperial River.

While the algae from Lake Okeechobee hasn't reached it hasn't reached Estero Bay, Paeno says its triggering higher than normal levels of red tide.

"Nobody wants to take a trip where everything is dead, nobody wants to see dead manatee, nobody wants to see dead Dolphin," said Paeno.

Another kayak operator running tours in Estero Bay Sunday says the water quality was just fine.

"No evidence of Red Tide anywhere, it's been staying up by Captiva, weather has been beautiful, Dolphins have been in," said Mike Grable of Naples Kayak Adventures.

Grable says sometimes people mis-identify red tide as dirt that is stirred up from under the mangroves during heavy rains.

He hopes people who see images of green algae on TV and want to cancel their vacations, will reconsider.

"I would say, focus on Bonita and Naples, we are quite a ways away from the Caloosahatchee waterway," said Grable.

Paeno says while South Lee County is only experiencing indirect effects from the algae, the problem is everyone's to share across Southwest Florida.

"I think it's important, as we continue to develop more and more we have to deal with these water issues we can't keep pushing it off on everybody else."

Paeno says the algae event should be treated as a an oil spill, and skimmers should be used to clean it up.