Marine debris causing concerns on new Biloxi fishing bridge

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The DMR will use more side scan sonar Wednesday to investigate that marine debris near the Biloxi Ocean Springs Bridge. The concrete and steel rebar in the water are believed to be leftover from the demolition of the old bridge.

But WLOX News found out there are also concerns about similar debris at the new Biloxi fishing bridge.

"I've caught many a mullet out here. And I enjoyed coming out here, but now I don't even own a new cause you can't throw it out here," said Martin Sczepaniak, a Biloxi native who enjoys throwing a net.

But he says the new $9 million fishing bridge has a problem: Steel rebar, some poking out of the water, and some hidden below, is snagging lines and tearing nets.

"They've done had about 12 people lost their nets down here because of the concrete that wasn't picked up like it was supposed to be picked up. There's rebar all over, all the way down the bridge. Anywhere you look and throw a net, you hang up everything," he said.

We found a three foot section of rebar on the sidewalk near the railing, but can't be certain it was hauled in by a frustrated fishermen.

WLOX News called the City of Biloxi about this problem. City Spokesman Vincent Creel looked into it and learned that yes, the city has received about a dozen complaints from fishermen who say that rebar and other debris along the fishing bridge has snagged their lines and torn their nets.

The DMR will return on Wednesday to further investigate that field of marine debris near the Biloxi Ocean Springs bridge.

Boaters who don't heed the PVC pipe warning, could face costly repairs.

"Hit something, you bend the prop shaft and you can strip the gears out inside the lower unit itself," said Junius Creel of Seven C's Marine in Biloxi.

That boat shop deals with the results of unsuspecting boaters hitting underwater debris. Repairs can run several thousand dollars, depending on the motor.

"Every month or two we see somebody that hit something and tore the lower unit up, mainly. You'll bend a prop shaft on your prop, mess your prop up. And then you can strip your gears out of the lower unit itself," said Creel.

Boaters can prevent costly repairs by slowing down and avoiding known trouble spots.

The City of Biloxi has no current plans to remove the debris that's been found near the fishing bridge. As for the debris near the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge, the DMR is working to determine exactly who is responsible for cleaning-it up.

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