HONOLULU – Abandoned and discarded fishing nets and other marine debris are dangerous to marine life and have entangled – and in some cases killed – many endangered marine species in Hawaii, such as whales, monk seals and sea turtles .
Non-profit organizations 4Ocean and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii remind residents and visitors to report marine debris washed up along Hawaii’s coasts.
This includes boats, large accumulations of trash, and fishing gear or nets.
Mimi Olry of the state’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) said, “Ghost nets, abandoned or lost nets, pose a huge danger to marine animals around the world. These nets, when floating in the ocean, attract small juvenile species, which in turn attract larger fish and marine mammals.
“Nets were created to trap and are often almost invisible in the dark. Once trapped, animals such as fish, dolphins, seals, whales, sharks and birds starve or drown struggling to to liberate oneself “, she continued.
“As these nets move through the ocean, other ropes and nets are snagged and, if caught on reefs close to shore, they will tear and destroy the corals until they end up washing up on the shore, where they often continue to entangle innocent animals that may lie on them or explore them.
The 833-4-da-nets hotline is a collaboration between DAR and several other organizations on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the island of Hawaii.
About 6,000 pounds of derelict fishing gear was removed in 2021 before it was washed out to sea at high tide.