Galveston fishing boat captain begins a 'Balloon Roundup' that will raise awareness to the dangers of balloon releases.
Cantrell told the Houston Chronicle, "I don't remember seeing this much plastic or trash in the ocean when I started. As we are running our normal day to day operations, we see these balloons that often get tangled with sea turtles or eaten by birds...and [the balloons] end up killing them."
This issue is exacerbated by the fact that creatures such as sea turtles mistake the balloons for their favorite food: the jellyfish. Cantrell has now "issued the challenge" for like-minded skippers and other fishermen of the Gulf to get the word out and raise an awareness.
The Balloon Roundup, as they call it, has collected some 30 or more floating pieces of plastic and string that can no longer end up in the digestive system of turtles or wrap them in a sure ball of death.
Cantrell added, "We are reducing wastes and plastics and debris in our ocean. We are hoping that this will be the first of many, many years to come."
Watching a sea creature wrapped in plastic and string needs to be a thing of the past, and the simple act of keeping your balloons on land and not in the air where they will end up in the ocean is as easy to do as it is to say.
The roundup began on July 1, 2019 and it has gotten the attention of other fishermen and fishing guides. Other organizations that have now gotten involved are Moody Gardens and Turtle Island Restoration, (which partner to give out prizes for the most balloons collected) The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Ocean Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund.
Captain Cantrell also said, "My vision overall is (that) we get to a point where people who come fishing with me understand the need for conservation and the need for this in the first place. The things you do inland have huge impacts on the marine environment as well, nothing is isolated."
Truer words were never spoken! Fishing and hunting guides are at the forefront of conservation, whether it be on land or sea, but it takes a village, as they say, to join in the bigger effort to protect and restore our environment so that gamefish, game animals, and our natural beauty remain for future generations.