While Loggerhead Marinelife Center had many conservation highlights, our team especially celebrated recycling nearly 400 miles of monofilament line.
While Loggerhead Marinelife Center had many conservation highlights, our team especially celebrated recycling nearly 400 miles of monofilament line.

How the Pandemic Helped Us Clean Up Our Act 

Trivia question – which is longer? The number of minutes in a year or the miles of monofilament line that Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) collected in 2020? If you guessed minutes, thankfully, you’re right. However, that doesn’t dismiss the concerning length of the monofilament line that was collected at the start of the year.

This year, we came to the sobering realization of just how critical our work is upon calculating the 382.53 miles of monofilament line, enough to stretch from LMC to Nassau, Bahamas, that we recycled through the Responsible Pier Initiative. If not properly disposed of, this line would have potentially constricted, suffocated, or been ingested by marine life! And if you’ve visited LMC, you know it’s a common phenomenon for our patients to have encountered this harmful fishing material in their habitat.

In light of the pandemic, Loggerhead Marinelife Center hosted a socially distanced International Coastal Cleanup, where conservationists of all ages helped remove marine debris.
In light of the pandemic, Loggerhead Marinelife Center hosted a socially distanced International Coastal Cleanup, where conservationists of all ages helped remove marine debris.

Take our former patient, Brody, for example. Brody, an adult male loggerhead sea turtle, was found floating offshore of Fort Pierce entangled in a monofilament fishing line. The line was wrapped around the turtle’s neck, causing a deep constriction wound. Not to mention, he ingested nearly 14 feet of the line, which could have caused serious damage to his internal organs. Fortunately, our rehab staff was able to step in at the right time to ensure that the line was successfully passed without any harm to the sea turtle. But our success stories don’t just come at opportune times. Sometimes, they come at the moments in which we’re most inconvenienced. (*mic tap*) A pandemic, anyone?

LMC’s 2020 Conservation Highlights

Throughout our two-month shutdown, we had the pleasure of performing more underwater cleanups than were originally anticipated. What would usually take place on a monthly basis now took place every week and the results were astounding. During a one hour dive alone, our Conservation Manager, Katie O’Hara, and Campus Operations Manager, Brain Robertson collected 21.5 lbs of marine debris. Overall, Katie and Brian were able to collect more than 65 lbs of harmful ocean debris during our two-month hiatus. We also welcomed many motivated volunteers to join us for Self-Guided Beach Cleanups on Saturdays to keep our oceans in a clear condition. In total, we removed 4,266.90 lbs of marine debris during our conservation efforts in 2020.

Although Loggerhead Marinelife Center celebrated many conservation highlights, the Center draws special attention to collecting more than 4,000 pounds of marine debris.
Although Loggerhead Marinelife Center celebrated many conservation highlights, the Center draws special attention to collecting more than 4,000 pounds of marine debris.

However, we can’t become complacent as the headlines become less salacious. Instead, we need to stay vigilant as ocean conservation remains urgent in our lifetime and in our children’s lifetime. Just because 2020 was a prolific year doesn’t mean in 2021 we stop all action in cleaning up our act for marine life. 

Instead, we encourage you to share the word, to sign up for a beach cleanup with your neighbors, to whip up that new culinary dish that’s sustainably sound – whatever it is that speaks to you! 2020 is not a year to be tossed to the side, but rather should be used as a stepping stone for how we’re making our home a stronger and healthier planet.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center uses its Bank of America Mobile Marine Debris Sorting Station to collect, sort, and record marine debris at conservation events.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center uses its Bank of America Mobile Marine Debris Sorting Station to collect, sort, and record marine debris at conservation events.

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Holiday Sweepstakes. This year, LMC is offering the opportunity for supporters to potentially win holiday sweepstakes by buying prize tickets that support marine life and ocean conservation. Hopeful participants can submit their chance to win a private conservation experience. The drawn winner will be able to bring (in-person or virtually) LMC’s mobile debris sorting station to their school or place of work for a conservation talk and marine debris sorting station experience. Find sea-son greetings and giving at LMC! Submit yourself for any of the mentioned sweepstake drawings at give.marinelife.org/holidaysweepstakes.

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Annual Fund. As we close on the year, we kindly ask that you tap into the giving spirit and donate a tax-deductible donation to our Annual Fund. With every dollar, you are helping us improve ocean water quality, reduce global marine pollution, and rehabilitate sick and injured sea turtles. Thank you for helping us start off strong in 2021 and making the holiday season a bit bluer!

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Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation, and educational institution that promotes the conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits, and aquariums, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier, which hosts world-class angling and sightseeing. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 350,000 guests free-of-charge each year. The Center’s conservation team works with 90 local and international organizations across six continents to form partnerships and share conservation initiatives and best practices that are core to its mission of ocean conservation. The Center is expanding and has launched its Waves of Progress capital expansion campaign, designed to accelerate and amplify LMC’s conservation and education impact. When complete, the facility will offer one of the world’s most advanced and unique experiences for guests and scientific partners. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call (561) 627-8280.