Cortez, FL | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Cortez, FL

Interviewee Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
Rick Waite and Tom Olyanarnyk

Rick Waite and Tom Olyanarnyk are commercial fishermen from Cortez. Their earliest memories of a Red Tide event was during the 1970s, where they witnessed a bad fish kill mostly affecting crabs. Since then, Red Tide events became more frequent and intense. Waite and Olyanarnyk also note the changes and threats to the fishing industry, and give regulation suggestions. 

Michael Jepson, Christina Package-Ward Cortez, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida
Paul Moore

Paul Moore is a local Cortez stone crabber. Moore has been fishing and stone crabbing in the Cortez area since the 1970s. The worst red tide he remembers was in the 1970s. The Red Tide in 2018 was comparable to the one in the 1970s, but the duration was much longer. 

Michael Jepson Cortez, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida
Nate Meschelle

Nate Meshelle is a young commercial fisherman based out of Cortez. The earliest Red Tide Meshelle remembers was in 2004/05, where he saw a huge mullet fish kill. Meshelle recalls several red tide events, occurring annually, along the central gulf coast. In the most recent Red Tide event, Meshelle witnessed a lot of dead pinfish, grunts, and eels. 

Michael Jepson Cortez, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida
Mike Davis

Mike Davis is a commercial fisherman residing in Cortez. Davis recalls several Red Tide events affecting the central Gulf coast. In his experience, the Red Tide (although made the water black) that hit around 20 years ago was the worst. 

Michael Jepson Cortez, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida
John Banyas

John Banyas is a 4th generation fisherman from Cortez. Banyas is very active in the fishery and holds immense knowledge that has been passed down through his family. Banyas recalls that Red Events would occur every six years or so; however, they became more frequent and intense. He has heard from first hand accounts that there was a very bad red tide in Cortez in 1921.

Michael Jepson Cortez, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida
Joe Croke

Joe Croke is a recent commercial fisherman, who started fishing in the Cortez area in 2008. Croke describes one Red Tide event in 2018, where he illustrates the area and species affected. 

Michael Jepson Cortez, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida
Raymond S. Pringle, Jr. & Raymond S. Pringle, Sr.

Oral history interview with father and son, Raymond Stargill Pringle, Jr. and Sr.

Michael Jepson Cortez, FL Florida Humanities Council, Florida Institute of Saltwater Heritage, Florida Maritime Museum Vanishing Culture Project
Karen Bell

Karen Bell is owner of Star Fish which is a seafood retail/restaurant in Cortez, FL. She is also manager of AP Bell Fish House in Cortez. Karen's family have a long history of commercial fishing in the community. This is the first of two interviews conducted with Karen.

Michael Jepson Cortez, FL Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez, Florida Institute of Saltwater Heritage, Florida Humanities Council In Their Own Words
John Banyas

John Banyas is a fish house owner and fisherman from Cortez, Florida. His grandfather, Neriah Taylor was a boatbuilder in the community. John fishes for mullet and baitfish. He also owns a wholesale/retail seafood shop and restaurant on his property along with a boat haulout facility.

Michael Jepson Cortez, FL Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez, Florida Institute of Saltwater Heritage, Florida Humanities Council In Their Own Words
John McDonald

This interview with John McDonald was conducted as part of the Cortez Village Voices from the Fisheries Project. This project is a collection of oral histories of Cortez, Florida community members who are involved in maritime activities (such as commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, crew members, and fish house workers) in order to document the changing face of Cortez Village's marine environment.

Steve Marshall Cortez, FL NOAA-NMFS Southeast Regional Office, Manatee School for the Arts, Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez, A.P. Bell Fish Co., Inc., The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage Cortez Village Voices from the Fisheries

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