Responsible Pier Initiative
The Responsible Pier Initiative (RPI) was officially launched in August 2013. It’s a first-of-it’s-kind program in the state of Florida and is designed as a collaborative tool to work directly with fishermen and fishing piers to promote a healthy environment for sea turtles and other marine life.
The initiative consists of three main components:
- Educational Workshops for sea turtle stranding first-responders which provide action steps to follow in the event a sea turtle is accidentally hooked, becomes entangled or strands on or around a fishing pier.
- Educational signage is installed on fishing piers and provides information for fishermen and pier goers on the appropriate steps to follow in the event a sea turtle is accidentally hooked, becomes entangled or strands on or around a fishing pier
- Underwater cleaning beneath fishing piers and surrounding areas on a regular basis to remove potential threats to sea turtles, such as debris and monofilament line.
We launched the RPI as a pilot program at the Juno Beach Fishing Pier in 2012 and have already seen positive results. Most importantly, it’s provided an opportunity for us to open the lines of communication with the local fishing community and sea turtles are being saved. We’ve also noticed a reduction in marine debris at the Juno Pier-let’s hope it continues!
In addition to the Juno Pier, both the Lake Worth Fishing Pier and the Dania Beach Fishing Pier have recently committed to the RPI as well and are currently displaying the educational signage and performing regular underwater clean-ups. There are also several fishing piers on Florida’s west coast and panhandle committed to coming on board in January 2014.
We are optimistic about the success of the RPI and continue to receive tremendous support from the community and our conservation partners. We are currently working to expand the program state wide in 2014.