Reel Time: Sarasota Bay Watch active during red tide

Sarasota Bay Watch (SBW) is committed to the health of the bay and has been working tirelessly to help people find ways to feel invested in working on improved habitat and water quality. Their work takes money and volunteers, and the organization has proven effective in raising awareness and funds while being hands-on through cleanups and restoration efforts. The recent Scallopalooza, It’s Clamtastic, was a sell-out and raised awareness and the funds necessary to continue their mission. Want to get involved? Following are upcoming events that depend on concerned citizen scientists, like you.

reel time New Pass Pier Cleanup
Sarasota Bay Watch Program Manager Ronda Ryan prepares to catalogue debris removed from Sarasota Bay during an underwater cleanup. – Rusty Chinnis | Sun

The SBW Monofilament Cleanup is this coming Saturday, Oct. 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron on City Island.

SBW has been collecting lost and discarded fishing line and gear from area waters for nine years to protect seabirds and other marine life. Marine debris cleanup is important to the organization’s mission. Volunteers can bring their boat, kayak, paddle board or just cleanup bridges, mangroves and shorelines in an area near them. Volunteers will receive lunch and some great camaraderie for their efforts.

Saprito Pier Underwater Cleanup:  Saturday, Oct. 20, 8:30 to 11 a.m., Sarasota

SBW is calling all certified divers, kayakers, and topside volunteers to clean the Tony Saprito Fishing Pier above and below the water! Removing marine debris and lost fishing gear will reduce bird and marine animal entanglement and ghost fishing while maintaining a healthy habitat and fishing environment for everyone. Sarasota Bay Watch collects data from recovered fishing gear and shares this information with NOAA and Ocean Conservancy to determine marine debris hot spots, fishing impact, and entanglement dangers. It partners with the city of Sarasota, the Sarasota PD Dive Team, and Scuba Quest for this exciting event.

Partner Events

North Jetty Cleanup with Suncoast Reef Rovers: Saturday, Oct. 13, 9:45-11:30 a.m., Nokomis

Sarasota Bay Watch has been partnering with the SunCoast Reef Rovers for three years assisting with collection and data. This collaboration has resulted in tons of marine debris being removed from the sensitive habitat and many entangled fish and crustaceans being freed. There is a need for divers, a limited number of kayakers, as well as topside volunteers. For information/registration contact [email protected]

Shoreline Shindig: Saturday, Oct. 13, Noon to 3 p.m., Riverwalk, Bradenton

SBW will be participating in this free event on the Riverwalk in Bradenton. There will be live music from the popular Passerine band and leading local food and beverage vendors. Hosted by START and Realize Bradenton, the event also will feature exhibits about our shorelines and coastal water preservation. This is a family event.

South Jetty Cleanup with SunCoast Reef Rovers: Sunday, Oct. 28, 9:45 to 11:30 a.m., Nokomis

The south Venice jetty is a fishing hot spot and attracts lots of locals and tourists and is considered a hotspot for marine debris. SBW works with SCRR providing diving, kayaking, and topside help to collect and categorize the underwater debris. This cleanup utilizes a lot of volunteers who help handle the large amount of debris that is brought to the surface. For information and registration contact [email protected]

Youth Ocean Conservation Summit: Saturday, Dec. 1, Mote Marine, Sarasota

At this yearly event, conservationists, both young and old from across the country, get together to empower young leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to launch ocean conservation projects in their local communities. The event allows young conservationists to work alongside their peers networking with marine conservation professionals.

The summit will feature exciting speakers, hands-on workshops, discussions on careers in marine conservation, opportunities to plan new or build on existing ocean conservation projects and the chance to meet other young people from across the country who are passionate about ocean conservation.

To stay in touch with SBW’s events check out its website. Get on the mailing list by contacting [email protected]

More Reel Time:

Reel Time on the road: Fishing the South Georgia coast

Reel Time: On the road to St. Marys and Cumberland Island, Ga.

Reel Time: The good, the bad and the ugly