September 5, 2008
Cockroach Bay Seeks Sanctuary Status
Although the name Cockroach Bay might not immediately seem like a place that you’d want to visit, it’s a haven for Florida sea life and serenity. Captain Gus Muench is passionate about persuading support in the community to protect this area by establishing an official “Cockroach Bay Sanctuary Authority.”
“I lived in the Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve for 38 years as a commercial fisherman, and when I look back, I realize that I was only interested in taking its rich and natural resources,” says Muench.
Muench petitioned the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission as well as the Hillsborough County Planning Commission and the Southwest Florida Water Management District to consider his proposal to establish an official sanctuary authority for Cockroach Bay.
His proposal includes instituting an official authority to govern and protect a proposed access corridor through Little Cockroach Bay from the Little Manatee River. The area outside the corridor and within the existing Manatee Protection Area would become a “Pole and Troll” zone.
The “Pole and Troll,” or no-motor zone, has stirred controversy among weekend boaters, but environmentalists consider it the principal way to protect sea grasses from propeller damage.
Muench thinks educating people about sea grass damage is a beginning, but not enough. “We need to establish an official authority that people respect,” said Muench. “And if the area is established as an official sanctuary, then that also allows us to look at grants and state funding.”
The Hillsborough County Planning Commission hosted a community planning workshop in Ruskin at the SouthShore Regional Library in late July to discuss the plan. “The community plan can include support strategies that emphasize the importance of the area and the desires of the community,” says Pedro Parra, principal planner with the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission.
“With more boaters moving into the area, we have to do something soon,” said Muench.
If you are interested in learning more about supporting the Cockroach Bay Sanctuary, please visit Muench’s Website at www.crabbyadventures.com or call 645-6578.