Last week, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced the arrest and charge of 10 men from Atlanta, Georgia for the unlawful use of a monofilament entanglement net (gill net) for the take of several species of fish and sharks at the Skyway Bridge North Rest Area.
The four gill nets in possession of the suspects measured 1,660 feet in length, which is more than four and a half football fields of netting. Over 500 pounds of fish and sharks were seized.
Gill nets are any net constructed entirely or partially of monofilament material other than a cast net or a landing dip net. They are typically vertical sections of the net that are stretched out on a rope suspended by a float and typically work by “gilling” the fish and entangling them within the mesh.
With the exception of very small fish that escape through the mesh, the majority of marine life that becomes entangled in the net die. This type of net can be especially devastating for sea turtles and marine mammals.
In the video below, a juvenile dolphin was entangled in one of these nets and was struggling to survive, until a police officer with the Miami-Dade Marine Patrol Unit came to its rescue.
“Officer Nelson Silva, of our Marine Patrol Unit, received a call of a dolphin in distress in the Shorecrest area,” said Miami-Dade Police Department. “Officer Silva located a juvenile dolphin that was trapped in a fishing net.”
Watch as Officer Silva sets the dolphin free
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