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Category: Environment


“This is a repeat offender or ‘habitual hooker,’ as we call it,” said Whitney Crowder, a sea turtle rehabilitation coordinator from the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton. A boatful of Keys locals chuckled as Crowder continued talking about a juvenile green sea turtle named Wormhole. “It does not learn very well and has been caught at least five times on fishing hooks — that we know about. One of the times even has a police report attached to it.” Jokes aside, Crowder and her colleague Maria Chadam, a sea turtle veterinarian from the nature center, visited the Keys at the end of August...

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Collect debris on land or sea and vie for more than $5,000 in cash prizes. An inaugural marine debris tournament in Islamorada is seeking teams eager to fill as many garbage bags as possible. Set for Sept. 18, also known as International Coastal Cleanup Day, participants can compete in one of three divisions. A land division will see teams grabbing garbage from the shoreline up to 100 feet inland. An on-the-water division will have participants scooping debris from the shoreline out to the water, while another division will have competitors collecting debris underwater.  Teams in each...

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A long-term plan to improve water quality and reduce sediment buildup in 63 village canals could cost well over $300 million.  That’s according to a recent report that ranks each canal based on restoration needs and identifies technologies recommended to improve water quality.  Backfill and culvert work for a little more than 10 canals within the Port Antigua community on Lower Matecumbe Key, has an estimated cost of $41 million. Identified in the report as canal 150, it’s the project with the highest price tag and No. 23 on the rankings list.  In the report prepared by Wood...

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Man fleeing officers charged with nine undersized lobster

A Miami Lakes man is facing a number of charges after reportedly fleeing from Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation investigators and possessing nine undersized wrung lobster tails.   FWC Investigators Billy Thompson and Chris Mattson received a tip of an individual harvesting lobster without a dive flag near MM 95, oceanside. In plain clothes and on an unmarked vessel, investigators noticed the individual, later identified as Yordanky Casares Rosado, 37, snorkeling along the shoreline without a diver-down flag displayed.  Yordanky Casares Rosado Mattson maneuvered the patrol vessel through...

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Fifty-two cleanups conducted this year resulted in the removal of just over 25,200 pounds of debris from the shorelines in the Upper Keys. For founder and Conch Nick MacShane and his wife, Kristina, a will to preserve and protect a fragile aquatic ecosystem has brought a community of like-minded individuals together for a greater cause.  Forming in late 2020, Coastal Waters Revitalization not only educates the public on protecting fragile aquatic ecosystems from pollution, but it’s also getting the community together to remove debris from oceans, canals and mangrove estuaries. Born in Marathon...

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Judge hands man jail time for undersized fish, spearfishing violations

A Hialeah man arrested in May for spearfishing in a restricted area and possessing an array of undersized fish will spend 60 days in jail, following a sentence handed down by Monroe County Judge Sharon Hamilton on Wednesday, Aug. 25.  Not only will Alejandro Ruiz, 47, serve jail time, but he’ll also be on probation for two years and commit 240 hours of community service. His fishing license is also suspended for two years, and he can’t be on the water for the duration of his probation. Ruiz must also take a Florida Fish & Wildlife course.  Monroe County State Attorney Office’s Jorge Jaile,...

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Teen bit while lobstering near Ocean Reef

A teenager is recovering at a hospital after he suffered a bite while searching for lobster in the waters off Key Largo this past weekend. The incident occurred just after 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 7 when a 15-year-old male was lobstering outside Ocean Reef Club. According to Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation, the boy was swimming in murky waters when he suddenly felt a sharp pain.  He subsequently swam back to a personal boat and was brought to shore. The teenager was treated by Ocean Reef public safety crews for injuries to his lower extremities. He was airlifted to Jackson South Medical Center...

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On the day after #WorldMangroveDay, a coalition of motivated and dedicated volunteers from all over the Keys joined forces on Pigeon Key to plant over 1,000 red mangrove seedlings. Mangroves protect coastlines from storm surge and erosion, sequester carbon, and absorb harmful nutrient runoff that can kill corals. Hurricane Irma destroyed almost all the critical mangrove habitat on the island, so the Pigeon Key Foundation and Marine Science Center worked to get native mangroves to the island and volunteers to plant them. Last October, the Conch Republic Marine Army collected thousands of mangrove...

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Whether you’re hopping on the boat for an afternoon, paddling or exploring deep depths, there are several things to consider before heading out. If you’re on a boat, remember to always designate a sober captain. Also, be aware of your surroundings for other boaters, snorkelers and paddlers and marine life.  TIE YOUR ROPE TO MOORING BUOY’S PICK-UP LINE Never tie the yellow pick-up line directly to your boat, as it puts undue stress on the mooring anchor. Run your boat’s bow line through the loop of the yellow pick-up line. Cleat both ends of your bow line to the bow of your boat. Never...

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An aerial view of the Florida Keys’ beauty is one to behold, with different shades of blue wrapping around historical lighthouse structures, sandbars, bridges and the island. Bird’s-eye shots of the Keys can also raise eyebrows, as evidenced by aerial photographs of scattered lines through seagrass beds near one highly-known channel. More boats taking to the waters and sandbars, like the one off Whale Harbor, means more instances of seagrass bed scarring from boat propellers. Look no further than a photograph taken in 2018 and another just three years later at Snake Creek Channel by David Gross,...

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