Fish Island is a 72-acre parcel comprising uplands, which support a maritime forest and a bald eagle nest, and wetland areas, which support an extensive marsh habitat. Development of this property would have a negative impact on the water quality of the Matanzas River and dramatically alter the scenic entryway to Anastasia Island.
Fish Island is named for Jesse Fish, whom, depending on the historical account, was either a savior and a saint or a traitor and a thief. Regardless of his moral fiber, it is well established that Fish was a wealthy man, and that he acquired substantial land holdings in St. Augustine (including most of Anastasia Island) during the transition between St. Augustine’s first Spanish period and its British period. Fish established his homestead and orange plantation, called El Vergel, on what we now know as Fish Island. El Vergel was likely one of the first commercial orange groves in Florida, germinating an industry that would become an economic driver and immortalize the iconic fruit as a symbol of our state.
For a more in-depth look at the history of Fish Island, here is a citizen's perspective on what we stand to lose if Fish Island is developed: