Friday, September 7, 2001

Derelict nets
around Kauai
to be removed

Tesoro Hawaii agrees to do
the cleanup as penance for
spilling oil that affected Kauai

By Anthony Sommer

LIHUE >> Tesoro Hawaii has agreed to spend $700,000 to clean up derelict fishing nets around Kauai as part of a consent decree settling a lawsuit stemming from a 1998 oil spill off Barbers Point.

The company spent about $2.5 million cleaning up tar balls that came ashore on Kauai beaches after almost 5,000 gallons of oil leaked from a ruptured hose being used to unload a tanker Aug. 24, 1998. Prevailing currents carried the oil to Kauai.

Tesoro Hawaii does not admit any wrongdoing in the consent decree. The decree states the action is intended as compensation for damage to natural resources by the oil spill.

F. David Hoffman Jr., Tesoro Hawaii's environmental manager, said yesterday the company will hire contractors to remove derelict nets from reefs and beaches on Kauai's east and west shores over a five-day period, probably in October.

An aerial survey has identified 130 abandoned nets, from fishing boats, that are entangled on the island. Another aerial survey will be conducted before the project begins. Representatives of state and federal agencies will decide which have priority for removal.

Kauai residents who know of derelict nets that may not yet have been identified have been asked to report them to the Hawaii Sea Grant Derelict Fishing Net Hotline at (808) 956-2861.

Derelict fishing nets, usually made of highly durable synthetic materials, pose a major hazard to turtles, marine mammals and fish. They frequently become entangled in coral fringing the shoreline or are partially buried on beaches after drifting hundreds or thousands of miles in ocean currents.

Both the lawsuit and the consent decree were filed in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. The plaintiffs were the state of Hawaii and the federal government.

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