Lee County is located on the gulf coast in southwest Florida. Lee County beaches extend 50 miles, with over 100 coastal islands. The county is bisected by the Caloosahatchee River, which is part of the Federal Intracoastal Waterway. Thirty percent of the county’s inland waterways are shallow seagrass meadows. There also numerous mangrove islands throughout the estuaries. These ecosystems support approximately 246 species of fish including many species important to commercial and recreational fisheries. Thus, almost 90% of the 51,000 registered vessels are less than 26 feet. The majority of these vessels are outfitted for fishing. Along with 283-square miles of inland waterways for fishing, Lee County has deposited materials on 27 artificial reef sites off-shore. Lee County is home to one of the largest commercial shrimping fleets in the United States. Based on San Carlos Island, the fleet numbers almost 200 boats. In addition to shrimping, there are a large number of commercial fishermen that ply the waters for crabs and finfish.
- B.S. Marine and Freshwater Biology, University of New Hampshire
- M.A. Marine Affairs and Policy, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami