Reducing Barriers to Preventing Marine Debris in Texas Recreational Fisheries
The Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University will work with the coastal Texas recreational fishing industry to reduce barriers to preventing marine debris including monofilament fishing line and single-use plastic items.
Type of Project: Prevention
Region: Gulf of Mexico
Project Dates: September 2022 - August 2024
Who is involved?
With support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Texas A&M University is working with volunteers, professional organizations, and the local recreational fishing community to reduce barriers to preventing marine debris including monofilament fishing line and single-use plastic items. The Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program will continue to be implemented by a team of partner agencies, including Texas Master Naturalists- Galveston Chapter, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Texas Master Naturalists- Cradle of Texas Chapter, Texas Coastal Naturalists, and Fishing’s Future, whose volunteers have dedicated their time to assist with the program. The Galveston Professional Boatman’s Association and charter fishing captains are piloting a refillable beverage system on their vessels. This project is also receiving additional outreach support from Bay Flats Lodge, a sportfishing lodge in Seadrift, TX, to raise awareness about marine debris prevention and sustainability efforts to educate the recreational angling community.
What is the project and why is it important?
Plastic debris is a well-documented issue affecting Texas coastlines. Plastic bottles and caps, food wrappers, plastic bags, and fishing line all contribute to the problem. These items can endanger wildlife like seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals, damage sensitive habitats, and negatively impact local economies.
The goal of this project is to reduce barriers to marine debris prevention in the Texas recreational fishery, which is primarily hook-and-line. To reduce the amount of fishing line and plastic debris originating from Texas recreational fisheries, project partners are expanding the Texas Monofilament Recovery and Recycling program by replacing damaged or missing bins. They are also raising awareness of this initiative throughout the coast with the assistance of a volunteer network, which will present information on the program in multiple languages (English, Spanish, and Vietnamese) to reach Texas’ diverse fishing communities. This will increase coastal communities’ awareness of the negative impacts of fishing-related debris and encourage residents to recycle their fishing line. Additionally, project partners are implementing an outreach plan to educate recreational anglers and for-hire captains about marine debris and actions they can take to reduce their contributions to the problem. Finally, the project is distributing marine debris prevention kits containing reusable items in an effort to reduce anglers’ and captains’ usage of single-use plastics during their fishing activities.
Through these actions, the project partners will increase awareness of a critical marine debris issue on the Texas shoreline, and provide support for measurable, accessible strategies to prevent this debris from ever reaching the environment.