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Monofilament Cleanup

10/17/2013 at 2:50pm

Monofilament CleanupMad For Monofilament

Caption: Kayaks pull to the dock at Fish Tale Marina
to offload line and debris they cleared from the
back bay during the 2012 Monofilament Madness.

It’s Monofilament Madness time again on Fort Myers Beach next Saturday, October 26th. The annual cleanup and environmental expo hosted by Keep Lee County Beautiful will take place at Fish Tale Marina on South Estero Boulevard.

"We’ll have volunteers in the back bay picking up monofilament and any other debris we find out there,” explained Terry Cain, vice-president of Estero Bay Buddies, a local non-profit. "We’ll also have an information station, along with Florida Department of Environmental Protection, at Fish Tale beginning about 8 or 9 in the morning.” The environmental expo will be held at the marina until 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 26th.

"We provide an opportunity to residents and visitors on our island to go out into and along the bay, beaches and mangroves” to help with cleanup efforts, said Cain. "We welcome paddle boarders, canoers, kayakers, power boaters and walkers to simply go out to their favorite part of the bay and to bag up any discarded fishing line or marine debris.”

Monofilament is simply a fishing line made up of synthetic fibers. It gets easily tangled in the mangroves and can become a hazard to marine life, wading birds and other wildlife. The focus of this year’s cleanup is the bay, though Estero Bay Buddies focuses on the gulf side during other times of the year.

Cain said that it’s remarkable what volunteers have found washed up into the mangroves along the bay, including debris left over from Hurricane Charley. "Just recently we found a parking light fixture in the mangroves from a local parking lot,” she said that was leftover debris from Charley. Volunteers are encouraged to pick up and bag any small debris, such as monofilament line, bottles or other trash. The larger, marine debris she expects volunteers will find are pieces of wood from old docks and Styrofoam balls that broke away from crab traps and boats.

Keep Lee County Beautiful (KCLB) will have supplies—bags, gloves, etc.—and provide a free hot lunch to volunteers, compliments of Sam Galloway Ford in Fort Myers. Cain encourages anyone who wants to get involved to head out to the bay on their own or to come by Fish Tale Marina for the free supplies and tasty barbeque.

Cain also encouraged anyone who wants to get actively involved in Estero Bay Buddies, a citizen support organization, to contact her at 239-707-3015. They are happy to support KLCB, state and local agencies in this worthwhile effort.

Keep Lee County Beautiful launched this annual cleanup effort in 1993 when two fishermen in a North Fort Myers tackle shop conceived the idea and came to the non-profit for support. The KLCB website reports that in October 1993, "volunteers began unloading mounds of trash and huge tangles of monofilament line onto the dock at Tarpon Point Marina. As boat after boat pulled up to the dock, it became clear that the citizens of Lee County were very serious about cleaning up their beautiful waterways.”

KLCB Executive Director Rudy Busch reported that previous Monofilament Madness cleanups have produced enough discarded fishing line to stretch from Fort Myers to Tallahassee, not to mention the mounds of other trash and marine debris. The organization hopes to bring more attention to this problem so that area anglers will be more diligent in proper disposal of fishing line and other waste.

For more information on Monofilament Madness and the other efforts of KLCB, contact them at 239-334-3488. Fish Tale Marina is located at 7225 Estero Boulevard, next to Santini Marina Plaza. Volunteers are welcomed to show up as early as 8 a.m. on October 26th to get supplies and participate in the bayside cleanup.

Chris Doyle