The News-Press
  Local & State - July 27, 2005

Mote calls for divers to help clean artificial reefs

Published by on July 27, 2005

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Divers still have time to register for Mote Marine Laboratory’s Inaugural Artificial Reef Cleanup and Treasure Hunt set for Saturday.

Participating divers have the chance to win prizes including fins, snorkels, a regulator, a dive computer and a buoyancy control device, or BCD.

An awards ceremony and barbecue will follow.

The cleanup will focus on nine reef sites in Sarasota Bay ranging from 45 feet deep to 60 feet deep.

The artificial reefs, made up of concrete culverts, old box cars, bridges, barges, Army tanks and Reef Modules by Reef Innovations, are designed to increase and enhance recreational fishing and diving activities.

Before the hunt begins, organizers will hide small artificial reef balls painted gold and designated with a number. Divers who find these gold “rocks” will be awarded prizes after the cleanup ends.

Prizes will also be awarded for “Most Trash Collected” and “Most Unusual Trash Collected.”

Register by calling Brett Ramey Blackburn at (941) 388-4441, ext. 420.

Final registration and captain’s meeting begins at 8 a.m. Divers and boat captains should meet at the chickee hut behind Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway.

Cost to participate is $30 through July 29 and $40 the day of the dive. Fee includes a T-shirt and free beach barbecue sponsored by Smokey’s Barbecue.

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