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By: Tiffany Duong and Justin Benson

Easter Sunday looked a little different at Key Dives. The crew and community of divers all pitched in for another Trash Trek. These dives are a shop specialty, where participants help remove trash from local reefs while enjoying their beauty. Everyone is invested in the health of the oceans and has the opportunity to help with their own two hands.

On the holiday morning, the dive boat was dedicated to a full-day trip. Everyone was eager and on board to dive with a purpose. Their targets were Bishop, Crater and Mosh Pit reefs in Islamorada.

Despite choppy conditions and heavy winds, the staff and Key Dives family had a wildly successful day. Donning bunny ears even underwater, they collected 677 pounds of debris off the ocean floor during this special Trash Trek. Within that debris were discarded and derelict traps, anchors, chains, rope and even fiberglass panels from a boat. 

The Key Dives crew and family of divers after their successful Trash Trek, which pulled out 677 pounds from local reefs. JUSTIN BENSON/Contributed

For years, Key Dives has been a community leader in cleanup dives and other conservation efforts. In May 2020, the shop celebrated a whopping 10,000 pounds of debris removed by its divers. With this newest dive, that total is at 13,094 pounds. 

Mike Goldberg, Key Dives’ owner, also helped launch I.CARE — Islamorada Conservation and Restoration Education in June 2020. The non-profit restores coral in Islamorada and coordinates with Key Dives and other local dive and snorkel shops to join their efforts. 

Key Dives staff Alyssa Panzer, Cortney Benson and Justin Benson sort, weigh and report debris to Project AWARE. CONTRIBUTED

Everything is done to help the coral reef recover because Goldberg and his team realize that a healthy reef means a healthy local economy. 

When the surge and currents push them along the fragile ocean floor ecosystem, debris harms the reefs, creatures and corals. Preventing this harm plays a major part in Key Dives’ dedication to the cause. 

Everyone can contribute to the reef’s health by practicing sustainable boating and fishing. Key Dives remains grateful for the community and all the visiting divers who help clear the reef of hazardous debris and hopes to build a more resilient reef together.

The post WEEKLY DIVE REPORT: VOLUNTEERS COLLECT TRASH ON EASTER DIVES appeared first on Florida Keys Weekly Newspapers.

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