Will Benson

Location of Interview
Collection Name

Decades of Change in the Florida Reef Tract: An Oral History Project


Florida is home to the only barrier reef in the continental United States. This project uses oral history interviews of coral reef stakeholders in Florida to showcase major changes in the reef tract over the past few decades. The stakeholders interviewed include scientists, fishermen, and SCUBA divers.

Date of Interview
Principal Investigator
Biographical Sketch

"[Capt.]Will Benson grew up on the waters of the Florida Keys. With a push pole in one hand and a camera in the other, Will has guided his clients and his audience to amazing memories on the flats and on film. His lifelong passion for the ocean is the heart and soul of WorldANGLING. As a professional guide he knows what it takes to create unforgettable experiences on the water and brings an immense dedication to the guide profession. As a member of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, he is an ambassador for flats fishing guides and a leader among the conservation community. And finally, as a father of two young children, Will believes firmly in protecting our amazing resources and instilling an appreciation for them in his children. For Will Benson and WorldANGLING, fishing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life." -- WorldAngling.Com

Scope and Content Note
Fishing guide Will Benson shares insights and experiences regarding Florida's reef system and environmental conservation efforts. He discusses noticeable changes over the years, particularly a decline in coral cover. Benson emphasizes the importance of protecting the reef and highlights initiatives like cleanup events organized by the Guides Association and partnerships with organizations such as the Ocean Conservancy. He also mentions a shift towards reducing single-use plastics, citing the Kick Plastic campaign supported by companies like Costa del Mar and Yeti. Benson expresses his dedication to his work and satisfaction in being on the water, despite financial sacrifices. He underscores the existential threat posed by environmental degradation and calls for collective action to ensure a sustainable future.

Please Note: The oral histories in this collection are protected by copyright and have been created for educational, research and personal use as described by the Fair Use Doctrine in the U.S. Copyright law. Please reach out  Voices@noaa.gov to let us know how these interviews are being used in your research, project, exhibit, etc.  The Voices staff can help provide other useful resources related to your inquiry. 

The NOAA mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. The Voices Oral History Archives offers public access to a wide range of accounts, including historical materials that are products of their particular times, and may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes.

Voices Oral History Archives does not verify the accuracy of materials submitted to us. The opinions expressed in the interviews are those of the interviewee only. The interviews here have been made available to the public only after the interviewer has confirmed that they have obtained consent.