Island Currents September 2010

Island Currents September 2010

FKCFA Grows Partnership with Turtle Hospital

With the help of FL Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association, the Turtle Hospital released a critically endangered Kemps’ Ridley sea turtle back to the wild. “Snoop” an adult female, lost a flipper after being entangled in fishing line. The FL Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association was a valuable partner during the 2010 cold snap that left hundreds of cold stunned sea turtles stranded throughout the Keys. For their efforts bringing in numerous turtles, the Turtle Hospital wanted to show appreciation by sending a rehabilitated sea turtle back to the wild with the fisherman. Included in the picture are Richie Moretti, Ryan Butts, Capt. Karl Lessard, Capt. Randolph Daniels, Capt. Tim Daniels, and Drake Daniels. Photo by Bill Kelly

An O-S-T-E-N-T-A-T-I-O-U-S Display
Habitat for Humanity’s Not-So-Annual Adult Spelling Bee Next Weekend

There is still room for teams for the 11th (Not-So) Annual Adult Spelling Bee sponsore by Fishermen’s Hospital to benefit Habitat for Humanity of the Middle Keys. 

The 2009 winners, “Switlik Sweller Spellers” (Switlik Elementary) need a good challenger to take the first place title this year.

This is a three-person team event set for Sept. 10, 6pm at San Pablo Church Hall.

Prizes will be awarded for spelling, best team name and best costumes. Just be sure to stay away from the “Special Blooper” award presented to the first team eliminated from the competition!

Contact Lupe Marzoa at (305) 289-7001 right away to get your application and spelling words 305-289-7001 or visit for more information about the competition.

Gloves, Net, Paralyzer
Upper Keys Ready to Catch those Lionfish!
Let the hunt begin!

Our Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, in partnership with REEF, will host an inaugural series of lionfish derbies starting next Saturday! Divers who remove lionfish from sanctuary waters will be eligible for more than $10,000 in cash and prizes.

“Current research is beginning to show that, if left unchecked, the impacts of lionfish could be devastating to our native marine life and coral reefs,” observes Lad Akins, REEF director of operations. “Providing training and incentives for the public to remove lionfish is one way to control populations and minimize those impacts.”

Following detailed briefings on lionfish collecting and handling, divers will be allowed to collect fish on the day of the tournament using hand nets or spearfishing gear in areas of the sanctuary where fishing and spearfishing is allowed.

This is why they need to be removed from our ocean.

Lionfish are known to feed on commercially and ecologically important fish species; including snapper, grouper, and shrimp, and can disrupt the balance of the marine ecosystem.

Here’s the tasty part. Event banquets will feature a lionfish tasting for derby participants and guests.

“Eating lionfish is a conservation activity,” affirms Sean Morton, acting sanctuary superintendent. “We are its only known predator in the Atlantic and through dedicated diver-based removal efforts, and consumption of lionfish as a food source, we can control its establishment.”

To further promote their removal, NOAA has also developed an “Eat Lionfish” to educate us: this is one delicious invader.

For more information on the derbies and to register online go to our website and follow the link!

Bring your nets and spole spears with paralyzer tips! The $100 registration fee for a four-person team of divers or snorkelers provides participants with a pair of puncture resistant gloves and banquet tickets.

Lionfish Derby Dates and Locations
• Sept. 11 – Coconuts Restaurant, Key Largo

• Oct. 16 – Keys Fisheries Market and Marina, Marathon

• Nov. 13 — Hurricane Hole Marina, Key West

Annual Sister Season Pageant set for Labor Day Night
For the seventh year, the Sister Season Fund is producing its Mister and Miss Sister Season Pageant on Labor Day night, Monday, Sept. 6, at Aqua Nightclub. Doors open at 7 for a Meet and Greet, and the show starts promptly at 8.

The fund is run by Key West people devoted to helping locals employed in tourist related industries when a temporary emergency occurs through no fault of their own, such as an illness or accident, that may endanger their housing situation.

“The pageant is held in recognition of the hardworking men and women employed in the Key West tourist industry,” says SSF President Ginger King, “and the cause is serious, but the pageant is all about having fun — for both the contestants and the audience. It’s hilarious variety entertainment, not a drag show, and absolutely the most fun pageant of the year.”

One Miss Sister Season winner, Stacy Ristiff, demonstrated her nail and hammer talents by literally hammering pieces of wood together — “now that’s funny,” said King.

Five judges will make their decisions on Appearance, Talent and Q&A, and winners will receive a prize package put together by the current Mister and Miss Sister Season. During their year-long reign winners will be expected to volunteer at fundraising events and to organize and host a new benefit event to support grants for additional industry locals who have fallen temporarily on hard times.

Qualifications for assistance, aside from verification of a temporary emergency, include a year’s residency in the 33040 zip code, past or present employment in the general tourist industry and future re-employability.

The pageant is hosted by Aqua Nightclub. There is no admission fee. Donations are accepted at the door. The majority of Sister Season Fund benefits are structured that way so everyone can attend. According to Thaller, more than $65,000 in assistance money has been awarded since the group’s formal organization in July 2005. Since 2005, 63 individuals have been helped, and 28 have received assistance between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009. For additional general information about the Sister Season Fund or the pageant, phone Ginger at 849-0991.


Tow 2 Go!
By Alyson Crean
As the three-day holiday weekend approaches, the Key West Police Department wants to remind the community to drive safely. Most importantly, don’t drink and drive.

This weekend, as in holidays past, AAA is offering its Tow 2 Go program. If you find you’ve overdone it, AAA and Alex’s Auto Wrecking and Towing are offering free and confidential rides home for you and your car. Simply call 1-800-AAA-HELP. Or you can call Alex’s direct at 296-4910 or 872-4910.

“Make the right plans before celebrating and designate a sober driver,” says Christine Rodriguez, owner of Alex’s. “Or simply plan ahead for a safe ride home by utilizing our services. We provide the Tow 2 Go program to ensure that everyone will arrive home safely. A life lost to drunk driving is preventable. Just call us.”


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