Gulf Islands National Seashore will temporarily close the Fort Pickens Fishing Pier on Thursday, August 20, to facilitate underwater sea turtle research. The study, conducted by the University of West Florida, will evaluate interactions between young adult sea turtles and in-water piers. The fishing pier will close at 9 p.m. on August 19 and will reopen by 12 p.m. on August 20.
Sea turtles are an endangered species and can often become hooked or entangled on fishing line, causing injury or even death. This work will provide insight into the causes and drivers for sea turtle occurrences around piers, to help managers better understand these interactions. In addition, the researchers will be collecting data on invasive species occurrence. This information will help the park maintain a healthy environment for native fish species in the area.
Rangers will be on duty at the fishing pier during the closure, which extends out 25 yards from the pier. Once the work has been completed, the fishing pier will be immediately reopened. For more information on the Fort Pickens Area, please visit www.nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/fort-pickens-area.htm