Removal of Marine Debris used as Lobster Aggregating Structures (casitas)
Atlantic Region; 2006
In August of 2000 and again in June of 2001 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers patrolling the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) apprehended suspects dumping materials to create lobster habitat into the waters of the FKNMS. This debris, locally referred to as “lobster condos,” or “casitas” can create significant environmental impacts. The dumping of various types of materials has been an on going practice for decades and has grown exponentially in recent years.
This project consists of three parts:
Locating marine debris using side scan sonar techniques (Imagenex's Sportscan) proven effective in this application. This is extremely important since this area received impacts from no less than four tropical storms/ hurricanes in 2005 and some debris may have shifted in the high wind and wave energies.
Hiring the services of an experienced marine contractor with equipment adequate to perform safe removal of debris from the marine habitat and transport to designated land stations for proper disposal.
Concentrated effort from NOAA, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Education and Outreach staff is being conducted to educate the public, especially those who use and enjoy the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary for recreation and for commercial purposes, to express the harm done by dumping debris into the environment on many different levels.
This program is housed within NOAA Fisheries and is funded through NOAA's Ocean Service, Office of Response & Restoration, Marine Debris Program.