On October 1, Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries staff and volunteers from Sarasota Audubon, Manatee County Audubon, Sarasota Bay Watch, and Sarasota Bay Estuary Program visited bird nesting and habitat islands to remove discarded fishing line, hooks, tackle, and other ensnaring materials that are littered all over these special places on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Although no one person felt that they had found a lot of fishing line, at the end of the morning an amazing amount of line and other materials had been removed from the bird habitats of Sarasota Bay. Audubon islands visited included Cortez Key, Whale Key, and Bowlees Creek Island Bird Sanctuaries. Other sites included City Island, shorelines of Longboat Key, and the John Ringling Causeway and bridge abutments.
The Fishing Line Cleanup is organized in October because few birds are nesting on colony islands in the fall. The Sarasota Sailing Squadron hosted the event, which was coordinated with Sarasota Bay Watch for the third year in a row. The clean up was also sponsored by Save Our Seabirds and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Thank you to everyone who came out and helped make a difference for Florida’s incredible coastal wildlife! See you next year!