May weather is usually gorgeous on the Texas coast, not too warm, not too cold, just right. May is also the first “busy” month, as measured by the increase in boat traffic and fishing participation. With so many fishermen hitting the water, I believe it appropriate to go back over some of the hints and encouragement we offered last spring in the area of plastic management on waterways.
Managing plastic pollution on waterways can be very easy…with a tiny bit of preparation!
Think back to previous trips to the bays and try to remember the discarded (or poorly managed) plastic items you saw littering bay shorelines. I’m not talking about gulf beaches, much of that mess originates far away in foreign lands where we have no control. I’m talking bay shorelines, nearly all of which are almost fully enclosed, with only narrow passes to the ocean. The stuff that collects here came from here. Much of it from fishermen, which is truly sad.
Bottled water has become enormously popular over the past few years and, sure enough, water bottles are some of the most common items you are likely to see washed onto bay shorelines. A good alternative to bottled water is filling a picnic jug or two from the tap at home. Pour the water into reusable cups like Yeti Tumblers rather than sipping it from a plastic bottle that can blow out of the boat.
Next, and a major pet peeve of mine, are plastic sacks. Ice bags and shopping bags. Have one wrap the water pickup port on your outboard while you’re cruising along and you’ll see what I mean. If you buy your ice at the marina, dump it in your ice chest and dispose of the sack before leaving the dock. Rather than carrying snacks aboard in plastic shopping bags, try a reusable shopping bag instead.
Believe it or not, empty plastic lure packages are some of the things I see quite often on shorelines. Some even still have lures in them. My guess is that they were left lying on the boat’s center console and nobody even missed them when they blew out. Well, maybe, if they ran out of lures. I always preferred emptying the lures into a snap-lid tackle container before I even put them on the boat.
I’ll leave you with this last one to ponder. The next time you are driving to the boat launch, pay particular attention to what you see in the roadside ditches. If your favorite launch site is anything like mine, you will see all manner of stuff that blew out of trailered boats as the tow vehicle driver hit the accelerator that first half mile or so. Hand towels, wading shoes, bait buckets, lure packaging, landing nets, Styrofoam and plastic drink containers, you name it. The way to solve this problem is to ready the boat for travel before hitting the road. It only takes a few minutes and some of the items that might blow out aren’t trash…until they land on the roadside.Oh, and carry a roll of trash sacks in the boat. When you happen upon a nasty, littered shoreline, take a stroll and clean up the mess. Maybe the fish gods will notice and bless you with a better catch on your next fishing trip!