SARASOTA, FL June 3, 2017 - ReelCycle assisted the Sarasota Bay Watch sponsored cleanup at Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota and pulled a surprising amount of debris up from the bottom of New Pass. By far the most abundant waste was cast nets coming in at a total of 47! The City of Sarasota Police Dive Team was an especially valuable partner because they not only provided expert SCUBA divers but also patrolled the area in their boats and kept the divers safe from passing boats. Other partners included the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Marina Jacks, NAUI Green Diver, Scuba Quest dive shop, the City of Sarasota Sustainability Program, and Aqua Lung.
In about two hours, 35 scuba divers scoured a 500-foot long area of the bay bottom near the seawall. The found trash and brought it to the surface where they handed it off to people in kayaks, canoes or jet skis. The 8 paddlers brought it to shore where a group of 24 “topsiders” diligently returned any tangled up living things back to the water. Some of the sea life they rescued were brittle stars, sea squirts, crabs, shrimp, coral, fish and even an octopus. Next, the waste was cut up, measured and weighed. Plastic fishing line was picked up by Reelcycle, a nonprofit leader in managing fishing tackle disposal. The data from these cleanups is shared with NOAA and other leaders in the marine debris issue.