If you see fishing nets and other marine debris, phone it in.
Groups urge alert eyes
for errant fishnets
A new Derelict Fishing Net Hotline has been established to map where junk fishnets are turning up on the main Hawaiian Islands.
Marine debris has been studied (and then removed) from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, but until now no one has really pinpointed where the debris washes up on the populated islands. The debris is a hazard to sea life, especially endangered sea turtles, monk seals and seabirds.
Enter a new cooperative venture of the state Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaii Sea Grant and the state Coastal Zone Management program. The work is being funded by a $40,000 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant.
University of Hawaii geology graduate student Scott Godwin will be plotting the location of drift nets for a year and turning the study over to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Don't expect to phone in a net location and see it gone the next week, warned Godwin. It will be up to the department to figure out how to remove nets. But just locating where they wash ashore most frequently will help, in the long run, to solve the problem, he said.
To reach the hot line, call (808) 956-2861. The program also includes neighbor islands.