ARROYO CITY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — When fishermen on the Laguna Madre return to the docks along the bay, it is customary to clean their catch and then toss the remains to hungry pelicans.

However, the sharp ribs and spines on a fish skeleton can lodge in a pelican’s pouch or throat and sometimes kill them.

Thanks to Ryan Smith’s Eagle Scout Project from Troop 25 in San Benito there is now an easy way to avoid this danger to pelicans.

Ryan and his fellow scouts have recently installed six disposal pipes at cleaning tables at Adolph Thomae Park in Arroyo City where anglers can place their fish skeletons.

“After you are done cleaning the fish, you throw the skeleton inside the tube where it goes to the bottom and where the crabs and other fish can eat it,” said Smith.

Scoutmaster Ray Cantu is very proud of this special Eagle Project protecting pelicans.

“I have always wanted one of my boys to do an eagle project for the wildlife parks you know, and finally we get one going, so that’s good,” said Ray Cantu, Scoutmaster of Troop 25.

Trey Smith, assistant scoutmaster and Ryan’s father said he too is glad to help save pelicans.

“Hoping to accomplish protecting the pelicans and other seabirds from the danger that is posed by fish that are filleted, because the skeletons have a tendency to get caught either in their throat or it tends to tear the pouches,” said Trey Smith.

In addition to the fish skeleton receptacles, the scouts also installed four fishing line disposal pipes, as discarded monofilament line poses an entanglement threat to birds and sea turtles.

Hopefully, these convenient receptacles will inspire others to install similar devices at cleaning tables throughout the Laguna Madre.