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Tampa mayor urges 'pirates' to keep beads out of the bay during Gasparilla 2020

Launches Bead-Free Bay Campaign
Posted at 7:03 PM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 19:03:56-05

TAMPA, Fla. — You better keep a close eye on where you are throwing your beads during Gasparilla 2020, or you may have to walk the plank.

On Thursday, the City of Tampa launched a new campaign called Bead-Free Bay.

Mayor Jane Castor decided to create the campaign after seeing underwater footage taken from the bottom of the bay following a past festival.

“You will actually be astounded at how many beads there are underneath the water. And all of that is affecting our marine life,” said Castor.

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The mayor stood alongside the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla during Thursday's press conference.

“Everyone was willing to stand up and do what they could to make sure we don’t have any more beads thrown out into the bay,” said Castor.

According to The Florida Aquarium, divers recovered 120 pounds of beads from the bay following last year’s festival.

“We think this is a bold, visionary step, to continue to make Tampa the city we all aspire it to be, which is a world class city that cares about its environment, that cares about its marine life,” said Roger Germann, the President and CEO of the Florida Aquarium.

A mascot, Skipper the Dolphin, has even been recruited to keep an eye out for incoming and unwanted plastic in the water. The city said the police will be issuing warnings. Keeping the beads in the boat is going to be on the pirates’ minds.

“It is always a challenge because everybody is all excited that day, but getting the word out is the most important thing and I think we’ll do a better job going forward,” said Richard Chapman, Captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.