Well I’m probably going to piss people off . Oh well. I just came back from my walk. For the past few weeks, I’ve been collecting the “turtle-bite trash” for my citizen-science report. My three faithful readers know I have been picking up plastic trash for years.

Yes, there are people paid to clean the beaches but they don’t pick up the trash that is at the water line and mixed in with the sargassum. They usually only walk on the dry sand.

This morning, I could hear the gulls screeching insanely before I  even got onto 14th street. 500 footsteps later and I could see the carnage. Dead bodies everywhere as far as the eye could see and the gulls were fighting over every morsel of fresh fish flesh.

Shrimping season began on July 16th; bycatch was evident all over the beach. Little fish, mostly about the size of my hand were covering the beach, lying dead every few inches.

Different varieties, and some were as big as 12″ long. It seemed like a slaughter house for fish. I have been walking on this Gulf Coast on and off for my entire life and I have never seen anything as pathetic as what I saw this morning. I know I saw the shrimp boats super close to shore yesterday. I took photos of them. They looked unusually close.

Bycatch ratios can vary from 3 bycatch to 1 shrimp and in places 15 to 1; 15 bycatch for 1 shrimp. This seems like an unacceptable ratio. At what point does this become a problem worth caring about? Why do that many fish have to die so that people can eat shrimp?

Does the fact that the boats were so close have anything to do with the high quantity of bycatch? If so, they should not be allowed to be that close. Problems can be solved when solutions are available. Dead fish don’t have much of a voice. I will try to speak for them.

The dead angel fish bothered me the most. Their innocent little bodies were pleading.

They can remind us; our actions as consumers have consequences. Please give a damn.

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