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DLNR: Report washed up marine debris

HONOLULU — Derelict and discarded fishing nets and other marine debris are hazardous to marine life and have entangled, and in some cases killed, many marine endangered species in Hawai‘i, such as whales, monk seals and sea turtles.

Nonprofit organizations 4ocean and Sustainable Coastlines Hawai‘i remind residents and visitors to report washed up marine debris along Hawai‘i shorelines.

This includes boats, large accumulations of trash and fishing gear or nets.

“Ghost nets, abandoned or lost nets, pose a huge danger to marine animals around the world,” said Mimi Olry of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources.

“These nets, as they float in the ocean, attract small, juvenile species, which in turn attract larger feeding fish and marine mammals. Nets were created to entrap, and are often nearly invisible in dim light,” she said.

Olry said the consequences are dire for animals once enclosed.

“Once trapped, animals like fish, dolphins, seals, whales, sharks and birds starve to death or drown struggling to get free,” Olry said.

“As these nets move through the ocean, other ropes and nets are snagged, and if caught on near-shore reefs will tear and destroy corals until they finally wash up on shore. There they often continue to entangle innocent animals that may lay on it or explore it.”

The 833-4-da-nets hotline is a collaboration between DAR and several other organizations on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island.

On O‘ahu, 4ocean works in collaboration with Sustainable Coastlines Hawai’i as well as Hawai’i Marine Animal Response to quickly respond to marine debris reports. These organizations work collaboratively to try and usually remove the nets within hours of a report.

About 6,000 pounds of derelict fishing gear was removed in 2021 before it was able to wash back out to sea during high tide.
Source: The Garden Island

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