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Fishers, Surfrider collect derelict gear at harbors islandwide

LIHU‘E — Fishers can now find designated net bins at the Waika‘ea Canal (Lihi) boat ramp in Kapa‘a and Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor between Waimea and Kekaha.

The bins, intended for discarded fishing lines, nets and ropes, were installed in mid-March by the Kaua‘i chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. They follow fishing-debris bins placed at the Port Allen and Nawiliwili small boat harbors in January 2021.

Surfrider Kaua‘i recently announced these bins yielded more than 11 miles of fishing line one year after their debut.

Now the nonprofit hopes to duplicate that success on the Westside and Eastside.

Dr. Carl Berg, a recreational fisherman and Surfrider Kaua‘i senior scientist, has high hopes for the new bins.

“The fishermen are good guys. They’re really good,” he told The Garden Island. “They do throw all this stuff in, and they pick it up from the ocean.”

Every fisher knows the frustration that comes with a fouled spool or snagged line.

It’s a universal experience, although it may happen to some more than others. But what happens to that tangled monofilament if not disposed of properly?

“The most common thing to do is to throw it overboard,” Berg said “Well, if you do that, it ends up entangling the coral reefs or the turtles, sort of everything — and we have a long history of turtles with the stuff all wrapped around because they’re eating the limu right on the shore.”

Tube-shaped receptacles for cast-off fishing line are found on shorelines throughout the United States.

But Berg says these containers aren’t adequate on Kaua‘i.

“What we’re seeing is big stuff and big balls of this stuff, right?” he explained. “Not what comes off but one fisherman’s reel … Because all this stuff is spinning off of the garbage patch in the North Pacific Gyre, and washing up on our shores.”

So, in January 2021, Surfrider Kaua‘i installed two net bins at the Port Allen and Nawiliwili small boat harbors.

One year later, fishers had deposited a total of 960 pounds of heavy ropes, line and fishing nets and 80.5 pounds of fishing line in the bins.

It’s somewhat easy to picture nearly 1,000 pounds of rope. It conjures a striking image.

Nearly 90 pounds of fishing line is another story.

“Yawn. Yawn! Well, how many miles of line is that?” Berg asked.

As reported, it’s more than 11 miles, if one assumes the entire bundle is made of 130-pound test line.

That’s about the distance between Lihu‘e Airport and Paliku Beach (Donkey Beach) in Kealia.

The 80.5-pound bundle’s size becomes more impressive if one considers lighter lines.

“I don’t know, in that bin, how much is 130-pound test,” Berg said. “But if I’m guessing wrong, and it’s mainly 50-pound test, then that’s 30 miles of line or something like that.”

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Scott Yunker, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or syunker@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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