SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Saturday marked the World Ocean day. Sarasota Bay Watch and 91 volunteers, including 30 divers, conducted the annual New Pass underwater cleanup Saturday June 8, at Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota.
Kayakers, paddleboard helpers and Girls Scout Troup 9 from Phillippi Shores Elementary assisted in the effort. The Girl Scouts helped rescue stone crabs, fish, shrimp, a sea horse and assorted mollusks from the collected debris and returned them to the water.
The City of Sarasota provided two police boats to help assure the divers’ safety. Partners who helped make the event possible included Scuba Quest, Aqua Lung, the Reef Rovers, Aqua Ventures, Sarasota Police Department and the Sarasota Sailing Squadron.
Student volunteers earned 48 service hours and helped the other team members collect and recycle almost 300 pounds of derelict fishing tackle and cast nets. When the other debris was included the total weight of debris collected was almost 800 pounds.
The event was held in conjunction with World Ocean Day. Sarasota Bay Watch is part of a marine debris reduction group that works in conjunction with NOAA.