City says pigs’ feet on Sanibel beaches are from crab traps

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
People walk on the beach on Sanibel Island while pigs’ feet were washed up on the shore Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. The city said it was likely bait from crab traps washed ashore due to recent strong winds. Credit: WINK News.

Viewers reached out to us saying they saw animal parts on a popular Southwest Florida beach.

The City of Sanibel said Thursday pigs’ feet beachgoers saw washed ashore are bait used in crab traps.

Because of strong winds that moved through the region recently, the City says some of the traps were damaged or washed up on shore, which released the animal parts on the beach.

Some people say they’ve seen this in the past, but it’s never been this bad. David Bender was walking along the beach with his dog, Scout, when he saw the uncommon site.

“He grabbed it, tried to eat it, wasn’t good,” Bender explained.

Bender loves walking Scout on the beach, but not when this unwanted debris is on the sand. He finds himself picking up bags full of pigs’ feet.

“It actually still has the bottom of the feet still attached,” Bender said.

Most agree it’s not something they want to accompany them during their beach outings.

“I don’t know my pig anatomy very well, but it’s disgusting, and I’m really tired of it,” Beth Walling said.

Walling is one of the many people frustrated the stomach-turning sights are hogging the beach. She also enjoys bring her dog to the beach.

“She will snatch up one. We don’t even realize she’s got it in her mouth,” Walling said. “Sometimes she’ll start crunching anyway. This is not what Sanibel is about.”

This all comes as people are already dealing with red tide and the dead fish that come along with it.

“When the red tide happened, I did that constantly,” Sophie Parish said. “And then once it was done, I stopped. And then once I started seeing these around, I’ve been looking down a lot.”

People hope everyone steps up and helps clean up these beaches, including local and state agencies.

“We live here, and that’s the way I looked at this,” Bender said. “You need to take care of the property.”

People also told us there were cans of tuna along the beach with small holes in the lid. They believe they’re also being used as bait.

We reached out to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission about this. It responded and told us FWC regulates crab traps, and it’s reaching out to the division of marine fisheries management about what’s happening.

We expect to have a response sometime Friday, and we will have updates when the new information is available.

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