Common Sea Fans (<em>Gorgonia ventilina</em>) are one of several species of sea fans found in southeast Florida. Sea fans are also classified as soft corals or gorgonians.

Common Sea Fans (Gorgonia ventilina) are one of several species of sea fans found in southeast Florida. Sea fans are also classified as soft corals or gorgonians.

Photo: Chantal Collier

Juvenile bluehead wrasses swim along the reef in Palm Beach.

Juvenile bluehead wrasses swim along the reef in Palm Beach.

Photo: Joe Marino

map

Southeast Florida Reef News

FDEP Hosts the 5th Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup

Karen Bohnsack, Reef Resilience Coordinator

Divers pick up marine debris with South Florida Dive Headquarters and Force-E during the Broward County portion of the 5th Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup. Photo: Nikole Ordway, Force-E
Divers pick up marine debris with South Florida Dive Headquarters and Force-E during the Broward County portion of the 5th Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup. Photo: Nikole Ordway, Force-E

This summer, divers across southeast Florida hit the water to explore the region’s amazing coral reefs while also helping to protect them during the 5th Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup. The dive events were hosted by the CRCP and the SEFCRI, in partnership with local dive businesses and environmental organizations in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Over the course of several dedicated cleanup dives between June and August, participating divers sought out and removed harmful debris from the marine environment. A total of 132 divers participated in the 5th Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup aboard nine dive charter boats, and an additional 19 divers joined a cleanup at the Blue Heron Bridge, which was included for the second time as part of this event. In total, divers removed approximately 476 pounds of debris from 18 dive sites along the southeast Florida reef tract, and an additional 53.5 pounds from underwater at the Blue Heron Bridge.

 

The amount of debris recovered varied drastically between the dive sites. Some of the most commonly recovered items included monofilament fishing line, glass bottles, and aluminum cans. Similarly, many different types of debris were found, suggesting that many different sources likely contributed to the total amount. This included diving debris (dive mask, snorkel keeper, and dive tank boot), boating debris (engine cover, anchors, fuel line, and fiber glass boat pieces), fishing debris (line, hooks, fishing poles, and bait boxes), and land-based debris (sunglasses, Frisbee, golf balls, and mylar balloons).

 

In addition to reef cleanups aboard the local dive charter boats, the 5th Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup included a partnership with the 8th Annual Treasure Coast Waterway Cleanup in Martin County, where divers removed cast nets, lead line, and other debris from Peck’s Lake reef. Special thanks are due to all of the participating divers, as well as Diver’s Paradise of Key Biscayne, Debris Free Oceans, American Dream Dive Charters, South Florida Diving Headquarters, Force-E, Sea Experience Inc., Jupiter Dive Center, Narcosis Dive Charters, Pura Vida Divers, Sea to Shore Alliance, Dolphin Sun Dive Charters, and Paradise Below Diving for making this event possible!

 

While this annual event takes place during the summer, there are a number of opportunities for divers and members of the community to help protect coral reefs from marine debris year round. Visit www.SEAFAN.net for a list of other upcoming beach and reef cleanup events, and to report sightings of marine debris in southeast Florida.

View This Newsletter | Back to News