On Halloween day, we traveled north to Cocoa Beach to bring the Responsible Pier Initiative to its newest location. We had been working with our partners at the Brevard Zoo to organize a workshop for staff from the Sea Turtle Healing Center, the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, the Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary, and the Cocoa Beach Pier and everything finally aligned on Oct. 31.

The RPI has been steadily growing since its implementation on the Juno Beach Pier in 2013. To date, the initiative is responsible for the rescue of over 200 sea turtles and the removal of more than 8,000 pounds of marine debris. With the addition of the Cocoa Beach Pier, we are proud to say the RPI now has 50 participating locations!

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The workshop attendees were eager to learn more about the initiative and practice using the rescue net. We even convinced our intern, Taylor, to be our ‘sea turtle.’* After the training’s conclusion, everyone stayed on the pier to ask questions, share stories of sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation, and celebrate the accomplishment together. The Cocoa Beach Pier is not only the RPI’s 50th pier, it is also Brevard County’s first.

With each new addition, we are learning more about how we can best work with the fishing community to protect sea turtles and keep the marine environment clean. We are continually inspired by the efforts put forth by our partners and the anglers fishing on the piers every day. In order to really protect the marine environment, we need help from the people who know it best.

We want to thank the anglers who watch the piers for us, who fish responsibly, report sea turtle interactions, recycle their monofilament line, clean up debris, and serve as examples for the next generation. In honor of reaching this 50 piers milestone, LMC will offer a free day of fishing this Sunday, November 6, to the first 50 anglers at the Juno Beach Pier – where the RPI got its start.

We are so proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish together. 50 fishing piers is just the beginning!

*No interns were harmed in the rescue demonstrations.