START and Sanibel Sea School Team Up

The Causeway Island Park beaches are among the most intensively used public beaches in Lee County. The Sanibel-Captiva chapter of START, a state-wide ocean conservation organization, along with Sanibel Sea School, a Sanibel-based non-profit organization dedicated to marine conservation, have joined forces to help enhance visitor experience and reduce the environmental impact of recreation on our marine environments.

Dr. Bruce Neill, the Executive Director of Sanibel Sea School says “ It is very pleasing when non-profit organizations work in unison to find solutions which help solve problems. By working together, we can make a greater contribution utilizing economies of scale.”

On Monday November 4th, 2013 twelve monofilament-recycling bins were installed in Causeway Islands Park as a collaborative effort between Sanibel Sea School and START to reduce the amount of monofilament refuse in our oceans. Six separate sites were established on Island A and Island B to ensure effective visibility and ease of access for all anglers who make use of these natural resources.

Every day, improperly discarded monofilament fishing line harms marine life and the environment. Monofilament is non-biodegradable and can remain in the ecosystem for over 600 years. Marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and birds can become injured from entanglements, or may ingest the line, often dying as a result. In addition, human divers and swimmers are at risk from entanglements and the line can be destructive to boat motors.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation created a program called the Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program (MRRP). “The MRRP is a statewide effort to educate the public on the problems caused by monofilament line left in the environment, to encourage recycling through a network of line recycling bins and drop-off locations, and to conduct volunteer monofilament line cleanup events.” The newly installed bins were incorporated into this network for Lee County and will be maintained by a volunteer team from Sanibel Sea School and San-Cap START.

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