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A Bridge Too Far: Great fishing spots and accumulated debris

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 By guest blogger Capt. Don Voss, MCII

MCII and divers work around bridge traffic to remove mid-sized to large debris. Courtesy of Captain Don, MCII.

There are thousands of bridges in Florida over rivers, lagoons, bays, and estuaries. Most bridges are either equipped with fishing catwalks or have areas set aside for fishing. As a diver, it is not too hard to tell a great fishing spot based on the type and volume of debris you find underwater. Marine Cleanup Initiative, Inc. (MCII) was funded by NOAA through the 2010 Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant.

Mid-sized and large marine debris underwater can snag fishing line and gear. This often results in loss of gear and thus more marine debris. Smaller fish dart into these derelict nets and balls of fishing line for protection, sometimes at their peril. MCII divers have noticed this trend of fishing gear debris accumulated in and around areas with mid-sized to large debris items. Because of this, over the last 18 months, MCII has targeted these areas for debris removal efforts, greatly reducing these materials.

4-inch PVC pipe. There could be two miles of this pipe broken and lying in this area in 20-to-40-foot sections. Courtesy of Captain Don, MCII.

As you approach the last bridge in this area, you can see that there are two sections of the fishing catwalk missing along with 15 lamp posts, pieces of PVC piping, and other miscellaneous items. MCII’s initial underwater video captured most of those missing items as well as at least 60 feet of pedestrian guardrail and thousands of pounds of nets, fishing line, hardware, and broken pieces of boat docks and dock boxes. MCII estimates there is at least 25,000 pounds of debris to remove.

In the area, MCII has found that the north (up-current) side of any bridge is where debris typically accumulates. This debris can damages the bridges, is an entanglement hazard for the fishing industry and aquatic life, and diminishes the overall quality of the environment.

If you would like additional information, contact Captain Donald Voss (Captain-don@comcast.net), Operations Director, Marine Cleanup Initiative, Inc. or visit www.MarineCleanupInitiativeInc.org.

Casting net snagged on PVC pipe. Courtesy of Captain Don, MCII.

4-inch PVC pipe. There could be two miles of this pipe broken and lying in this area in 20-to-40-foot sections. Courtesy of Captain Don, MCII.

Author: NOAA Marine Debris Program

The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts, users, and inhabitants free from the impacts of marine debris. Our mission is to investigate and solve the problems that stem from marine debris, in order to protect and conserve our nation's marine environment, natural resources, industries, economy, and people.

One thought on “A Bridge Too Far: Great fishing spots and accumulated debris

  1. I wonder about the organic matter that has accumulated on the sea-bottom from the time we started dumping our waste into the sea. We eventually had laws determining how far in we could dump. Say that limit is twenty miles, for example – You would think there is a ‘ring’ of this stuff all along the coastlines. Could be an interesting
    exploration.

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