This past Sunday, nearly 50 divers from all over the area embarked on a sunrise cleanup at The Pier on Okaloosa Island.
Many of the divers on Sunday were involved with the cleanup that happened back in August as well.
“There’s a lot of people that come to fish here at The Pier,” said Alex Fogg, Coastal Resource Manager for Okaloosa County. “Unfortunately they lose lead, they lose hooks, they lose monofilament. Every once in a while, we need to get out there to make sure that we keep it clean up.”
When fishermen lose monofilament and hooks, a lot of times it’s on accident. In many cases, the debris can become an entanglement hazard for the creatures that hangout underneath the pier. It can also become a magnet for a lot of other monofilament and hooks to become tangled in, according to Fogg.
“We need to make sure we get out there every six months or so with a bunch of help from the community and other partners to make it happen,” he continued. “With the Leave No Trace initiative, you want to try and take everything out that you brought in, but unfortunately at the pier, in some cases you have to leave some monofilament and led hooks behind.”
- Fogg says that their job is to get out there and remove those items so that there is no trace of humans being there.
The divers went out with blue and yellow bags to collect the trash. These bags were donated by ‘Keep Florida Beautiful’ and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, who were huge partners for this cleanup.
Trash cleanups at the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier have been happening for the last 6 years or so. This has mainly been spearheaded by the Gulfarium, Anglers and The Pier, who do about 4 dives each year.
- Now that the event is becoming more of a public event, Fogg says that they are getting partners from all over the area, along with community partners from as far away as Mobile, AL.
In total, 284.3 lbs of trash was removed. A few notable items included:
- A few tires
- Construction fence
- Car keys
- Wedding ring
- 4 fishing poles
After the event, all the participants enjoyed free beer from Destin Brewery!