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Science Continues to Wash Up Along Gulf Beaches

August 04, 2020

Couple finds NOAA’s second message in a bottle in less than two years.


As 2020 continues to make a name for itself as a year we won’t soon forget, add an exciting find to the history books!  David Otto and his wife Brandi were enjoying their visit to Marco Island last week when they came across a more than 50-year-old bottle. They know the bottle’s age because of the note inside! 



The glass bottle contained a note which read “BREAK BOTTLE.” The bottle is one of 7,863 bottles that were released in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico from February 1962 to December 1963. They were released by scientists at the Galveston Laboratory of the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (now known as NOAA Fisheries). Each bottle contained a note instructing the finder to break the bottle and mail in the enclosed post card. They needed to fill out the date and location of the bottle to claim a 50 cent reward. The releases were part of a study on the role water currents play in the movement of young shrimp from offshore spawning grounds to inshore nursery grounds.



The Ottos were so excited to share the news of this find with us. “Over the last 58 years this bottle was in the water, the seal was in good shape but condensation and minor amounts of saltwater and sand had made the paper wet and torn and it had a foul odor,” said David Otto.

You may remember just a little more than a year ago, Jim and Candy Duke had a similar experience. The couple found a bottle from this same study while strolling along the beach in Corpus Christi, Texas

Like the Dukes, the Ottos also shared photos from their discovery. Next time they are in Galveston, we’re pretty sure the lab director owes them 50 cents!


Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on August 06, 2020