CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. (CSA) recently completed its 2019 fieldwork season in Florida, performing marine biological monitoring of multiple coastal projects throughout the state. The majority of these projects involve monitoring nearshore hardbottom communities for compliance with State and Federal permits associated with beach restoration projects.
One side benefit of this monitoring is that divers can collect some of the trash/debris that accumulates along the landward edge of the reefs. “We often find trash along the nearshore hardbottom edge, the side of the reef that is closest to the beach but offshore of where most beachgoers swim. Picking up this trash as we work underwater doesn’t take much time, and, at the end of a day, we’ve often collected a trash bag full of trash” said Jeffrey Pennell, a project scientist with CSA. Over a year, this can add up to hundreds of pounds of trash. Common trash items collected include plastic and glass bottles, baseball caps, sunglasses, plastic bags, beach toys, beach chairs, snorkel masks, and golf balls. Ghost fishing lines, nets, and lures are also collected, which can harm, ensnare, and kill sea turtles and other marine life.
In addition to collecting trash while performing their regular scientific duties, CSA scientists also volunteer in local beach and reef cleanup events, including the annual Treasure Coast Waterway Cleanup and the Martin County Lionfish Round-Up.