VENICE, FL August 12, 2017 - ReelCycle partnered with Sarasota Bay Watch and the SunCoast Reef Rovers for the 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 pounds of fishing nets, 82 pounds of lead (removed from the nets),2 43 pounds of abandoned traps, 108 pounds of fishing line, 72 pounds of rope, 55 lures, 6 fishing poles, and 50 pounds of recycling.
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.