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Friends of the Pelicans - Aug 26, 2022

He couldn't save him so he helped to save others. This is why it is SO important not to label all fishermen as “bad” or prejudge them by thinking that they don’t care about our wildlife and will simply cut the line – and why education alone on this pier does not work.

On Tuesday this kind fisherman was fishing at the very beginning of the two mile long South Skyway Fishing pier when he hooked a pelican. He knew not to cut the line – that it would be a death sentence, but he had no way to bring the pelican up and there was no one around to help him! This is an example of how education by itself on this particular pier is ineffective. Knowing what to do but then not having a way to do it is horribly frustrating.

This kind man had seen Khan’s car drive by earlier with the “Seabird Rescue” sign on it so he left his pole with the pelican still attached and drove the entire length of the two-mile pier (with a speed limit of 5 mph) to the very end where he found Khan and our other volunteers.

Everyone quickly rushed back to the beginning but sadly, while his pole was still there the line had broken and the pelican who must have gone around a piling was gone.

It bothered this fisherman so much to think he might have taken a life that he told Khan he wanted to help. He stayed with Khan and our volunteers for hours and they ended up catching 5 pelicans (4 from the water) and a tern. Hopefully one of the pelicans they got from the water was the one that broke his line.

This story just touched my heart when Khan told me. Yes, there will always be people who don't care or just don't know any better, but we always say that on the Skyway probably 90% of the fishermen do care and will choose to do what is best to save the pelicans.

Often when fishing people are alone, they don’t see any other choice but to cut the line or it breaks. More volunteers and education efforts are greatly needed. We appreciate everyone who helps in whatever way they are able.

I hope this story touched your heart the way it touched mine.

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