Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, partners protect wildlife by removing hazardous net from artificial reef (@MyFWC)Stay up to date on South Florida news! Click here to subscribe for email news updates from BrowardNETOnline.com
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and partners removed an abandoned commercial fishing net from an artificial reef in South Florida on March 5. The large monofilament fishing net posed a serious threat to marine life in and around the Tenneco Towers artificial reef, located in state waters approximately two miles offshore near the Miami-Dade/Broward county line.
The approximately 1,000-pound net is about 30 feet high and 200 feet long. Before its removal, the net extended from the top of the artificial reef, down to the ocean floor, causing a hazard for both divers and marine life. At least one sea turtle died after becoming entangled in the net.
“We refer to nets like this as ‘ghost nets’ because they continue to catch fish and entangle marine life,” said FWC marine biologist Erin McDevitt. “As fish and other marine life are entangled, they decompose and attract even more fish to the net, continuing a wasteful and destructive cycle.”
Industrial Dive Corporation was contracted to remove the net from the artificial reef. Once removed, the net was towed to the Navy’s South Florida Ocean Measurement Facility in Fort Lauderdale, where a crane lifted it onto a flatbed truck. This type of fishing net is illegal to use in state waters, according to Florida Statute. After the FWC’s law enforcement investigation is complete, the net will be transported to Covanta Energy, where it will be burned and turned into energy.
The removal of the net would not have been possible without the support of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Covanta Energy, Miami-Dade County Environmental Resources Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida.
The Tenneco Towers artificial reef is a decommissioned oil production platform transported from the Gulf of Mexico and deployed in five sections in 1985 as a fishing and diving attraction.