Capt. Daniel Andrews: educating citizens about water quality
Capt. Daniel Andrews is helping lead the charge to spread awareness and concern for water quality.
Born and raised in South Fort Myers, Andrews, 25 years old, is a founder of Captains for Clean Water, a non-profit started in February that promotes clean water in our waterways.
“Just seeing the plight of the fishery,” Andrews said. “Knowing that I couldn’t continue to see that without stepping in. It was all I can think about. It’s dying and not enough people are getting involved with trying to help the estuaries.”
He helped create the organization because of what he witnessed in the water.
“Dead seagrass, oysters were dying, fishing got tough, it smelled bad,” Andrews said.
Due to the things he was witnessing in the waterways, Andrews called some of his friends and identified an opportunity to get involved. They understood that there were people in the community disgruntled about the water quality but couldn’t voice their concern.
“There was a lot of energy that was not being funneled the right way,” Andrews said. “So I wanted to get with others with similar interests and really funnel that toward a meaningful solution.”
There are six members in the board of directors for Captains of Clean Water, which consist of four fishermen and two attorneys. On Facebook, the membership list is up to 16,000 people, they say, adding their Facebook page has been up since February.
Josh Constantine is listed on the group’s website, captainsforcleanwater.org, as a co-founder.
They also partner with local businesses and national fishing companies engaged on this issue.
“The six of us here locally have reached out and have really good ties throughout South Florida as well as the fishing industry on a national level,” Andrews said. “Everybody’s involved and they all want to do their part. It’s really encouraging.”
To legitimize their organization, they had to incorporate it as a tax-excempt 501(c)(3).
Andrews admitted it was a lot of work but he was helped out by a local law firm.
Andrews does not organize a lot of rallies because he feels that engaging individuals and businesses through private settings and meetings is most effective.
“We’ve hosted some town hall-type meetings but not so much the rally/protest, stuff like that,” Andrews said. “Most of our meetings have been educational.”
They communicate with other organizations. The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, TRCP (Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership), the Everglades Foundation, and the Fish and Tarpon Trust are just a few examples of the organization that communicate with Captains for Clean Water.
Andrews’ love for the water started when he was younger on Sanibel Island, fishing the Pine Island Sound.
“This area is a special place,” Andrews said. “I’ve seen a lot of destruction happen over the course of my lifetime and it gives me something to fight for.”
His passions are fishing and duck hunting. He considers himself an outdoors person. Another hobby of his is boating.
“I’m not he stereotypical environmentalist,” Andrews said. “I fish, I hunt. I feel like it’s my responsibility to preserve those resources for the future generations.”
At 18, Andrews bought his own boat.
“That’s when I started fishing seriously,” Andrews said.
The water is also a getaway for him.
“I just like being away from people,” Andrews said. “Just being somewhere where it’s wild and where you feel like you’re in an untouched area.”
His parents owned a furniture business, but were supportive of his goals with the environment.
Besides Captains for Clean Water, Andrews is a fishing guide. He does private inshore fishing charters for sea trout and tarpon. He takes mostly tourists out for full days and half days.
“It’s fun, it’s tough, it’s rewarding,” Andrew said. “It is also very physically demanding. When you wake up early in the morning and you’re up late at night fixing boats.”
Andrews spends most of his time with Captains of Clean Water because he thinks that is the bigger benefit.
To people undecided on using their voice to speak out, Andrews wants them to know something.
“I think it’s important to realize this is a foundation on South Florida’s economy and also way of life,” Andrews added. “Everything depends on water.”
Go to captainsforcleanwater.org for more about the organization; for information about Daniel Andrews’ charter business, go to andrewscharters.com/captain-daniel-fishing-charters/