Tag: Florida Sea Grant

Acme Sponge and Chamois Community Outreach

As an industry leader in leather chamois and sea sponge production, Acme Sponge and Chamois Co remains committed to helping ensure healthy and sustainable fisheries, consumer protections and to giving back to the community. Toward those ends, our officers are active in organizations such as Florida Sea Grant, The National Institute of Weights and Measures and the Sponge and Chamois Institute. In addition we support our nation’s first responders by providing some of those in need with Sponges and Chamois to help keep critical equipment clean and maintained. We support educational programs related to aquaculture and are involved with our local Tarpon Springs community.

Acme Sponge and Chamois and Florida Sea Grant

Acme company officers are also involved on the board of directors of Florida Sea Grant and the Florida Oceans Alliance, groups dedicated to both research and information dissemination with the goal of having sustainable natural resources and healthy oceans that can be used by all constituent users from tourism to commercial fishing, sport fishing and boating interests.

Tarpon Springs Business Links its Success to Florida Sea Grant
Florida Sea Grant YouTube Channel
Florida Sea Grant Website

Acme and the National Institute of Weights and Measures

Acme has also worked closely with the National Institute of Weights and Measures (NIST), to provide information to insure that proper standards are in place for correctly measuring and marking product retail packaging and help ensure consumer protections.

Acme Sponge and Chamois Community Outreach Blair TN Fire Department
Acme Community Outreach
Blair TN Fire Department

ACME First Responder and Local Community Outreach

In addition to our other efforts, we are committed to serving those who serve us by offering some of our first responders the tools they need to keep their equipment properly maintained and clean. Firefighting is a dirty business, and we’re proud to be able to help with the cleanup by donating sponges and chamois to some of our country’s finest.

Acme Facebook Page

Acme and the Sponge and Chamois Institute

The Acme leadership team is also very involved in the Sponge and Chamois Institute, the trade organization for the industry. Acme officers have held various leadership positions over the past few decades. “The Sponge & Chamois Institute is a nonprofit trade association that was founded over fifty years ago. The mission of the Sponge & Chamois Institute is to educate the public about the benefits of genuine chamois and natural sponges. As part of this mission, The Sponge and Chamois Institute and its members have taken a leading role in educating the public“ – Sponge and Chamois Institute website

Sponge and Chamois Institute

Acme Education Outreach Program

Acme is also committed to working with educational organizations to educate and inform about aquaculture and sea sponges in particular. We are currently in the process of developing classroom materials that meet national curriculum standards to help teachers and students learn more about the wonder of sea sponges and their uses.

How Sea Sponges Are Harvested

Natural sea sponges are harvested from the bottom of the ocean by fishing boats that specialize in sponge fishing. These boats are often owned and operated by families who have been sponge divers for decades, or, in some cases, even centuries. In many areas around the world, sponge diving has been a family tradition for thousands of years.

What Are Sea Sponges

Sea sponges are aquatic animals that cling to a hard surfaces on the sea floor such as rocks or coral and, once attached, do not move around. They are classified as animals, but have neither a central nervous system nor brain. The processed sponges that are sold and used for cleaning are only part of the animal. Living sponges are coated with a dark elastic skin that has pores through which they move water to feed or filter nutrients. Between the inner and outer skins of the living sponge is a gray gelatinous substance called gurry. Processed sponges have had the outer skin and the gurry removed from the structural element or skeleton of the sponge. And it is that skeleton that we use as a sponge.

Sea Sponges are Harvested Sustainably

Sea sponges are harvested by divers using specially designed cutting hooks or knives. These leave enough of the base of the sponge for it to quickly regenerate. Once cut, the divers gently squeeze the gurry out of the sponge and take them back to the boats. The sponges are then pounded to clean them, and then covered with wet burlap sacks on the deck of the ship, where the heat from the sun releases a gas that rots the sponges’ skins so that they can be more easily removed.

Sponge Diver Mosaic Tarpon Springs Acme Sponge and Chamois
Sponge Diver Mosaic in Tarpon Springs
Acme Sponge and Chamois History

Sea Sponge Harvesting Techniques

Sea sponges are harvested in many different countries using a variety of methods, but in the United Sates, sponges are harvested using sustainable methods that actually help the sponge population as a whole. Specially trained divers, who regularly and systematically rotate fishing grounds, sustainably harvest sponges by cutting the sponge to ensure that the base is left intact, which will allow the sponge to quickly regenerate. Rotating the harvesting or fishing grounds allows the sponges time for healthy and productive regrowth, without impacting the natural habitat the sea sponge colonies are harvested from.

Sea Sponges are a Sustainable and Quickly Renewable Resource

Scientific studies have consistently confirmed that the regular harvesting of natural sponges actually enhances the health and population of the sponges by increasing the population and removing older sponges. Properly harvested, or cut, sponges will re-grow within a few years, producing a bigger and healthier sponge than it was originally. Pieces of sponge that are broken off in the harvesting process that settle back to the ocean floor and reattach to a hard object, can regrow into completely new sponges. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that harvested colonies actually increase in their population density, and through this practice the overall sponge population.

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