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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire Launches New Project to Remove Fishing Line from Bonaire’s Reefs

Fishing line and other fishing tackle can easily end up in the sea when lines become entangled and are cut, and these items can cause serious problems for Bonaire’s resident and visiting sea turtles.  Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) along with the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) has just launched a new project to help in removing these dangerous items from Bonaire’s reefs.

Many times the mono-filament fishing lines remain on the reef, even with hooks still attached.  Sadly, each year, STCB reports how turtles get entangled in fishing lines, which could mean certain death if they can’t free themselves quickly in order to surface to breathe.  Just in the last two months, STCB staff members released two turtles from their perilous position near Port Bonaire.  STCB is now seeking experienced volunteers to dive, snorkel and walk along the coast to remove these materials left behind at sea or along the coast. Upon registration, the volunteers will receive instructions on how to remove this fishing tackle safely. Additionally, several dives will be organized throughout the year to focus on those areas with the most fishing tackle in the water, for instance, around the piers of Kralendijk.  Ninety meters of fishing line was removed near Karels Beach Bar on the most recent cleanup dive organized by Dive Friends Bonaire.

Tangler bins, as shown in the image above, are being placed at favorite diving sites and allow for the easy and proper disposal of fishing line or tackle removed from the reef.  STINAPA rangers will empty these bins on a regular basis. STCB also plans to begin an information campaign to advise local fishermen about the dangers of certain fishing methods for the underwater life, as well as for humans.  The organization would like to introduce more environmentally friendly fishing methods, including providing free fish hooks that are friendlier for turtles. As fishing line as yet cannot be recycled on Bonaire, there are plans to have a local artist create a work of art from the collected materials, and which can be displayed in a prominent location.

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire is a non-governmental organization in the field of research and conservation. Since 1991, the organization focuses on protecting the turtles. As a member of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network and associate of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance and STINAPA, STCB is a recognized leader in the field of protecting turtles in the waters of the Dutch Caribbean.  It is hoped that this project will serve as model for the other Dutch Caribbean islands as well. (Source:  STCB Web Site)

Posted by Susan Davis on February 28, 2012 at 3:02pm AST
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