trust me on this, they’re right. sky sponges you can easily attract with a water balloon and some patience
The process is pretty fun to watch on Sponge Farms like the one in L.A. where they give tours. They inflate massive linen blimps during the day and soak them with water, then raise them up at dusk when the sky sponges first awaken. Over the course of a night, a single blimp can attract up to 2,000 sponges and those sponges in turn can be diced into around 20 dish sponges or 5 grout sponges each. They used to use honey to make the sponges stick, but they found that step wasn’t necessary as the sponges lack brains and don’t try to leave when reeled in.
The EPA is happy with it because sky sponges feed mostly on owls, including the endangered Northern Spotted Owl. Sky sponges on the other hand are far from endangered, and if they continue to breed unabated they may pose a risk to low flying aircraft by 2035.
Amateur sponge nabbing like you mentioned is also growing in popularity, especially in the sponge deprived regions of Europe.