First Responsible Pier Initiative created in South Florida, expected to catch on

JUNO BEACH, Fla. - Loggerhead Marinelife Center has created the states first Responsible Pier Initiative .

Jack Lighton, the President  and CEO of Loggerhead Marinelife Center says, "It really takes into account conservation from a fishing initiative above the water line and below the waterline."

Jupiter Dive Center volunteers are periodically cleaning up  under the pier.

They have pulled up 1,300 pounds in the last two years! And above the water, you'll find new signs along the pier that let fishermen know what to do if they hook a turtle.

There are also big nets spaced throughout the pier. If they hook a turtle, they are supposed to lower the net into the water and scoop the turtle up.  Does it work? You bet it does, and it did just this past weekend.

Lighton explains, "We had the Pederson family on the Juno Beach fishing pier enjoying their evening. They unintentionally snagged a loggerhead sea turtle and they followed to the T the signs that are on the pier, they alerted the first responders."

Donald Streeter, a pier operator say,  "Here comes fish and wildlife pulling up to the curb. It took two guy to carry that big sucker too. and got him up there and they got directions from fish and wildlife: wait until he gets the inside of his truck ready…and all this…yeah, it was good to watch."

The turtle (named Pederson after the family ) had two hooks removed and is doing fine recovering at Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

The program is also operating at the  Lake Worth Pier, and the Dania Pier with hopes of expanding.

Lighton says, "I would love to see this program rolled out across the state of Florida and ultimately on the entire eastern seaboard if not nationwide."

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