Experts Assess Derelict Fishing Nets In Main Hawaiian IslandsUniversity of Hawaiʻi
State Divers plan to remove an estimated 1,000 pounds of fishing net clinging to reefs a quarter mile offshore at Lanikai. Experts estimate that thousands of pounds of net debris have piled up along coastal areas of the main Hawaiian Islands.
The removal will kickoff a new program to assess the extent of lost or discarded fishing gear washing onto reefs and shores throughout the main Hawaiian Islands. Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with a grant to the State's Coastal Zone Management program, and coordinated by State's Division of Aquatic Resources and Hawai'i Sea Grant, the program is asking the community to report marine debris sightings on beaches, reefs and in nearshore waters.
UH Geography Department graduate student Scott Godwin will conduct interviews and field surveys to determine the extent of derelict fishing gear and associated debris items. Godwin stresses that the program is not asking the community to retrieve any marine debris items they may spot.
"We are just performing an assessment of the net debris problem at this time," Godwin said. "Our source for information will be the community groups that have local knowledge of the issue. The information and experience provided by the cooperation of these groups will be integral for this current assessment, and for future plans for organized removal."
To report sightings of fishing gear on beaches and in nearshore waters, the public is asked to call the Derelict Fishing Net Hotline at Hawai'i Sea Grant, (808) 956-2861.
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