The 27th Annual Fishing Line Cleanup, organized by Audubon Florida and Tampa Bay Watch, will take place from Saturday, October 24 through Sunday, November 8.
Audubon needs volunteer boaters to help remove tangled fishing line from local mangroves and shorelines. Registration is required, and interested boaters can register by emailing Jeff.Liechty@audubon.org. The cleanup, scheduled when most birds are not nesting, reduces the threat of entanglement for not only birds but other marine animals. Previous cleanups resulted in an estimated 18,860 feet of fishing line removed from 25 different coastal nesting sites around Tampa Bay.
Abandoned fishing line ensnares and kills thousands of birds every year. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists have identified fishing line as the No. 1 killer of adult Brown Pelicans.
“Florida’s coastal birds face increasing pressures from habitat loss, human disturbance, and predation; removing fishing line is an easy way to increase their chances of survival,” said Audubon Florida Sanctuary Manager Mark Rachal. “Pelicans, egrets, herons and other iconic coastal birds need our help. We are asking for volunteers to enlist in the 27th Annual Fishing Line Cleanup and make a difference for Tampa Bay’s wildlife.”
Registered volunteers receive cleanup locations, equipment list, and data sheets. Additionally, volunteers are instructed on how to free entangled live birds they may encounter during the cleanup and given information on local rescue groups that can assist. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year participants will engage in a socially-distant cleanup, with smaller crews completing cleanups independently across sites.
“It’s great to be able to get the community involved in an event to help prevent wildlife entanglements, while also raising awareness about the importance of responsible fishing practices. Ultimately, education and smart fishing will be the solution for this problem,” said Melinda Spall, Tampa Bay Watch Environmental Scientist.
-Photo Opportunity- Media is welcome to join us at this event to get pictures of the Fishing Line Cleanup. Please contact Jeff Liechty at 813.623.6826 or Jeff.Liechty@audubon.org to schedule a time to get on the water with Audubon Florida.