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Underwater Cleanups
Underwater cleanup of artificial reefs

Since 2008, staff from the City of Naples Natural Resources Division have partnered with the UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension Program to organize and coordinate an underwater cleanup event on some of Naples most heavily-used reefs in conjunction with the International Coastal Clean Up. As a result of their popularity, local reefs can accumulate large amounts of fishing gear, specifically cast nets as well as fishing line, lures, boat anchors, ropes and other debris. Besides the threats the abandoned gear has on marine life, such as entanglement or ingestion, it can also act as a hazard to local boaters, anglers, and divers. This year's event also included support from the City of Naples Fire Department as well as the Collier County Sheriff's Office, Collier County Government, Rookery Bay Reserve, and Scubadventures dive shop. As a result of our efforts over the past 6 years, thousands of pounds of debris have been removed from local waters. The group removed the following items during this year's event.

  • 37 tires
  • 18 cast nets
  • 12 bottles
  • Lots of fishing line
  • 1 electric fillet knife
  • 1 fishing pole
  • Part of a crab trap
  • Part of what looks like an air conditioner

Reef sites that are repeatedly targeted for cleanups include the Santa Lucia and several barges off of Marco Island where a dead sea turtle was found entangled in a cast net. Most sites are located approximately 2 miles offshore and are 25’ deep or shallower. A new site was targeted during this cleanup event after a report of dozens of tires on the Gulf bottom was made by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. We found the tire field and worked to remove 37 tires from the sea floor. It is the continued effort of divers and invaluable partnerships that continue to make these events a huge success and help rid our local waters of trash.


Click on the videos below to see some underwater footage of the cleanup