Oh, what a day! Enthusiastic volunteers gathered on Saturday morning, August 11, 2017 for the SunCoast Reef Rovers annual underwater clean-up of the Venice North Jetty, a popular fishing spot. A combination of 19 SCUBA divers, 19 ‘topsider’ helpers, one kayaker, one snorkeler, and one Sarasota County Sheriffs police boat worked for a few hours to rid the underwater habitat of abandoned fishing gear.
Sarasota Bay Watch has been partnering with the Reef Rovers to help gather volunteers, sort debris, and gather data. The EPA donated sturdy dive bags and Reelcycle partnered to ensure best practices are in place for gear disposal. NAUI Green Diver Initiative also participated.
The Venice North Jetty was cleared of:
- 81 lbs of fishing nets
- 243 lbs of abandoned traps
- 72 lbs of rope
- 6 fishing poles
- 82 lbs of lead
- 108 lbs of fishing line
- 55 lures
- 50 lbs of recycling
- One anchor, a bimini pole, water filter, large piece of fiberglass, one pair of glasses, umbrella, beach chair, and many other curios were recovered.
The Sheriff’s Officer, John Fandozzi, patrolled to ensure the safety of the divers in the inlet and the kayaker worked to communicate between shoreline volunteers and divers. All ages gathered for the dirty work with smiles on their faces and sweat on their brows.
Once fishing gear is lost it snags other fishing line, forming an underwater tangle that moves with the waves, ripping out vegetation and entrapping animals. The annually cleaning help to maintain a balance that ensures a sustainable healthy fish population.
The Suncoast Reef Rovers and Sarasota Bay Watch will join forces later this summer to clean the South Jetty and the Venice Mooring Fields. Come join us!