This week, LMC found something incredibly sad under the Juno Beach Fishing Pier—a bird’s nest made entirely of monofilament line. In the middle of this plastic nest, was a single egg, laid by one of the resident birds.
We’re aware of the threats fishing line poses to sea turtles and other marine life under the pier, but this find shows yet another dimension to the problem. Since bird chicks are known to be entangled in nests with fishing line, the fate of this baby bird is uncertain.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center has installed fishing line recycling bins on piers and popular fishing locations around Palm Beach County. The line is then collected and sent away to be recycled. Just last week, LMC sent 65 miles of monofilament fishing line from these bins to be recycled.
How you can help:
- When fishing, always dispose of your line in the proper receptacle.
- If a fishing line receptacle is not available, dispose of fishing line in the trash.
- If you find fishing line or any plastic trash in the marine environment, please pick it up and dispose of it properly.
For more information on how to start a monofilament recycling program in your area go to http://mrrp.myfwc.com
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and people are starting to think about the great loves of their lives- but has the ocean made your list?
Along with making Valentine’s Day plans here at LMC, we’ve decided to show our love for the ocean, as well as our loved ones, by doing these five things on Wednesday, and every day!
1. Remember Your Reusable Bag
While on the hunt for that perfect Valentine’s Day surprise, don’t forget to bring along your reusable shopping bag! Last year alone, LMC picked up more than 8,000 plastic bags off of Florida beaches, removing the threat they pose to marine life. If more people remember their reusable bags, they can reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment.
2. Skip the Straw
An estimated 500 million straws are thrown away every day in the US. That’s a lot of trash for an item that is used only once, and briefly. So if you’re out with your special someone this Tuesday, remember to say, “no straws please.” More information on LMC’s work to eliminate straws and other single-use plastics from local restaurants will be coming soon.
3. Choose Sustainable Seafood
If you’re heading out for Valentine’s Day dinner, and seafood is your dish of choice, be sure to order sustainably! LMC has partnered with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program to promote sustainable seafood choices. To help you make informed decisions year-round, just stop by LMC for a Seafood Watch Consumer Guide or download Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch App and choose only seafood listed as “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative.”
4. Hold on to those Heart-Shaped Balloons
While love may be in the air, Valentine’s Day balloons should not be! Please hold on to all of those heart-shaped balloons and other helium-filled greetings. Every balloon and plastic ribbon released into the air will inevitably come back down, and many will end up in the ocean where they can entangle sea turtles and other marine animals. Deflated balloons are often mistaken for jellies, a common food source for sea turtles. In 2016, LMC launched a Balloon Ban initiative that has spread to five counties in Florida.
5. Recycle your Valentine’s Day Cards
Most greeting cards and envelopes, including those shared on Valentine’s Day, are recyclable. So after you finish reading those sweet words from your loved ones, toss that card in the proper receptacle. You may need to remove music players, plastic embellishments, or foil lining on an envelope before they go into your household recycling bin. It’s good to keep recycling in mind when purchasing cards as well.
Wishing you a turtally-awesome Valentine’s Day from all of us here at LMC, and thank you for sharing our love for the ocean. If you’re still looking for that special Valentine’s Day treat, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is offering admission for a special Evening Guided Tour on Feb 13 and 14!
A few weeks ago, we welcomed Katie O’Hara to our team as Conservation Coordinator.
Growing up in Virginia Beach with a marine biologist mom, Katie was exposed to conservation work from an early age – beach clean-ups and assisting with sea turtle stranding responses were all part of the usual routine.
Katie also grew up coming to LMC while spending holidays at her grandparent’s house just up the road. Spending time at LMC allowed her to develop a first-hand appreciation of the impact the Center has on visitors and their understanding of sea turtle conservation. Katie went on to pursue a career in marine biology and earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the College of Charleston in South Carolina.
Since graduating, Katie has worked at the Annapolis Maritime Museum where she developed and launched Right Catch, the first comprehensive sustainable seafood program for the City of Annapolis. Before her time at the Maritime Museum, Katie held positions with the Cousteau Society and Broadreach Global Educational Adventures – where she led student groups on 21-day marine biology and SCUBA trips aboard a catamaran in the Caribbean.
Katie will be a regular contributor to the Conservation Blog. She will publish a weekly post with project updates, department travel, and “SHIELD shout- outs,” showcasing the work of our collaborators.
Katie is creative, driven, and passionate about saving the ocean. We are all very excited to have her join our team.
This has been a busy semester! We have been traveling, starting new projects, and counting endless amounts of trash removed from local beaches. In the midst of everything, we welcomed three new Conservation Interns in August. We rely heavily on the dedication of our volunteers and interns. Each new group brings new ideas, new skills, and new ways to learn and improve. We are very lucky to have another amazing set of students and recent graduates with us in the Conservation Department this term.
Sarah is 20 years old, born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. She’s currently a junior at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of FAU in Jupiter, FL pursuing a degree in Marine Biology. After graduation, she hopes to further her education in a marine and environmental affairs graduate program somewhere on the coast. In her free time, she enjoys working out, reading, and binge watching Game of Thrones! She’s so excited to be working at Loggerhead, contributing to conservation efforts, and gaining experience at this organization.
During Genevieve’s childhood, her family took numerous trips each year to the Florida Keys. Her father never missed an opportunity to turn a day by the water into a learning experience. Everything from cowries to brittle stars were examined, and for Genevieve, brought a sense of wonder and awe. This is where her curiosity for sea life and passion for our oceans sprouted. She has since been honored to work at Rare Species Conservatory Foundation and intern at the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center during summer breaks from the University of Florida. These opportunities have sparked her interest in conservation and, with a Biology degree now in hand, she’s looking forward to diving into the world of marine science. In her free time, you can find her hiking with her dog, taking in the ocean’s sights and sounds, and reading. She feels lucky to have grown up in South Florida and she can’t wait to see what the future holds in her time here at Loggerhead Marinelife Center.
Bobby is from Ft. Pierce, Florida. He recently graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Environment and Society. He has experience analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data and is looking forward to contributing to our long-term conservation studies here at LMC. Bobby is passionate about protecting marine life and enjoys fishing and water sports.
If you see our interns around town, be sure to say hello and ask them what they are working on! They are happy to share conservation messages with everyone they can.
This month, our work with cigarette butts on fishing piers continues. One stipulation of the grant we received from Keep America Beautiful is follow-up litter scans at each location where cigarette receptacles were installed. The bins have been collecting butts at 15 sites in Florida since June. With help from a few of our partners, we have been busy counting cigarette butts both contained in the receptacles and littered on the ground at each pier.
Our Conservation Interns, Sarah, Genevieve, and I started with the local piers. Our mission became a bit harder than we expected when we discovered that the locks on the receptacles had all corroded. In the words of one of the pier managers we spoke with, “Nothing on God’s green Earth will last out here in the salt.” So, it was back to the shop to ask if we could borrow the bolt cutters and order some rubber-coated locks. I am happy to report that after several lessons from LMC’s Operations team, we have mastered a method for cutting off the old locks and putting the new ones in place, heavily greased and ready to take on some salt… we hope.
After that, we headed north for Panama City Beach. There, we conducted RPI refresher trainings at Russell-Fields Pier and MB Miller Pier. Staff at each location reviewed rescue and reporting steps and walked the piers with us to check on signage and speak with a few of the regular anglers. Staff from Gulf World even helped us pick up cigarette butts!
We then drove west to Fort Walton Beach to bring Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier on board for the first time. The staff at Gulfarium have been helping us with detailed reports of turtles they have treated from other piers in the area for some time. They were eager to implement the RPI on the pier in their own backyard. They are also excited to expand conservation efforts in collaboration with the pier staff who have been working hard to improve environmental stewardship with monofilament recycling bins, circle hook sales, cigarette receptacles, and increased educational signage. We shared our ideas for engaging anglers in projects, including one of my favorite initiatives – kids’ fishing programs designed to empower the next generation of responsible anglers.
On the nine Florida piers we have analyzed so far, we have counted 6,049 cigarette butts collected in the receptacles. That is 6,049 butts that are not in the ocean or on the beach; 6,049 individual decisions to dispose of waste responsibly for the protection of the marine environment. Several piers we visited asked if they could have additional receptacles. We are working to ship those out now. We are very proud of the success we are seeing so far and hope we can continue to prevent marine debris through our Responsible Pier Initiative.