A.C. lines up plan to fight snacking sea gulls

December 28, 2007 4:08:11 PM PST
The sound of a seagull is a charming part of being at the Jersey shore. But a new idea is being tested in Atlantic City to ward off those not so charming seagulls that try to steal your food. "The seagulls are a pain in the butt," says Lou Rios, of Brooklyn New York during a visit to the boardwalk. "Because they dip down and grab your food."

City officials such as Don Guardian, know that the birds can be a problem for visitors who sit down to lunch along the boardwalk.

"They'll dive bomb and they take the food right out of your hand," Guardian said, "pizza, bagels, things like that."

Guardian heads the city's special improvement district. As a way to stop the aggressive birds, his group, with financial help from Harrah's, wants to string nearly invisible fishing line across the boardwalk about 15 feet overhead.

How would it work?

"I think they are afraid that they may get clipped, their wings," Guardian said. "So once you string a line, even a foot or two a apart, the seagulls will not come near it."

"I guess the misperception is that it is a netting. It's not really a netting whatsoever," said Dan Nita, Harrah's Entertainment General Manager. "It's more of a random fishing line and as you know with fishing line, it is not very visible."

If they get the permits from the city, a 350 foot test site will be set up in front of Bally's Park Place and Wild West Casino.

Officials have high hopes that the fishing line will keep the seagulls at bay when it comes to dinner time. They have some proof that the lines do work. Some beach bars already use the fishing line.

Visitors seem to like the proposal to reel in the seagulls using the fishing lines.

"It scares a lot of people actually, because they come at you," says Sheila Williams of Camden, as she strolled on the boardwalk. "You don't know what they can do. They can land on you or dump something on you, so I think it's a good idea if they can contain them."

If the trial plan works, maybe next summer you can eat your french fries in peace instead of fighting the seagulls for them.