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

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Southeast Florida Reef News

Divers Help Coral Reefs During the 3rd Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup

Karen Bohnsack
NOAA Coral Fellow

A piece of fiberglass boat (left) was one of many items picked up by divers on Dolphin Sun Dive Charters (right) during the Palm Beach County portion of the 3rd Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup. Photo: FDEP CRCP
A piece of fiberglass boat (left) was one of many items picked up by divers on Dolphin Sun Dive Charters (right) during the Palm Beach County portion of the 3rd Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup. Photo: FDEP CRCP

This summer, divers across southeast Florida had the opportunity to have fun underwater while actively contributing to coral reef conservation efforts during the 2013 Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup. Held annually since 2011, this summertime event was the biggest yet with participation by 12 local dive charter boats and over 140 divers. Together, these divers managed to haul an estimated 600 pounds of debris from southeast Florida’s reefs. The 2012 event saw participation by 76 divers, who collected close to 350 pounds of debris. It is hoped that more divers will continue to get involved in the years to come!

 

Plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, monofilament fishing line, rope, and dive masks were among the variety of items recovered from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Perhaps most unusual were golf balls, which were recovered from a number of different locations, and pieces of fiberglass boat. Divers even found several pairs of undamaged designer sunglasses, and a $1 bill. This variety of items shows how some of the debris that can be found on reefs is accidently introduced into the ocean, and there are even some treasures to be found.

 

The 3rd Annual Southeast Florida Reef Cleanup was hosted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Coral Reef Conservation Program and the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative in partnership with local dive charter boats in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, and also included a partnership with the Treasure Coast Waterway Cleanup in Martin County. Special thanks are due to all of the participating divers, as well as RJ Diving Ventures, Latitude 305 Diving & Charters, American Dream Dive Charters, South Florida Diving Headquarters and Southern Scuba School, Brownie’s Yacht Diver Stores, Lady Go Diver, Jupiter Dive Center, Narcosis Dive Charters, Pura Vida Divers, Dolphin Sun Dive Charters, Splashdown Divers, and Sunstar Aquatic Services 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.       



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