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Naples non-profit calling for more regulations to keep shore birds safe

NAPLES, Fla.– The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is concerned as more shore birds get hurt because fishing. The non-profit is now asking Naples City Council to add more regulations at the Naples Pier. 

To local anglers like Robert Hatcher, the pier is a place of peace.

“You throw a fishline in the water. What better way to relax and destress?” Hatcher said.

For shorebirds like pelicans, osprey, and cormorants, it is risky to feed in Collier County. The Conservancy said is the epicenter for hook injuries.

Joanna Fitzgerald, Director of the Von Arx Wildlife Hospital said it’s only getting worse for staff and volunteers.

“It’s that domino effect where you just keep getting them in and you really can’t catch up,” she said

In 2010, the hospital took in 48 pelicans. Last year, that number jumped to 193. So far in 2021, the non-profit has cared for 87.

“We’re running out of room. Sometimes we literally have pelicans in every room of the hospital,” Fitzgerald said.

That’s why they’re casting three suggestions out to anglers and the city, hoping to reel them into a conversation about adding new fishing regulations to the pier.

“Everybody is going to have a different idea of what they think will work. I think there are changes we could try and see if it makes a difference. But to just continue when we see the problems, isn’t that the definition of insanity?”, said Fitzgerald.

The Conservancy’s three suggestions are:

  1. Limit the pier’s hours of operation.
  2. Implement a fishing permit requirement for each angler. Right now, the city pays for a blanket fishing permit.
  3. Expand the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s team.

The Naples City Council will discuss this topic in a meeting on June 14th.

The post Naples non-profit calling for more regulations to keep shore birds safe appeared first on NBC2 News.

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