A nonprofit group and researchers from Hawaii Pacific University have teamed up recently to remove 12,000 pounds of discarded “ghost nets” from Kaneohe Bay.
The nets were removed on Oct. 10 and 11 by Ocean Voyages Institute and HPU’s Center for Marine Debris Research, according to a news release from the institute. Ghost nets are nets that have been lost or abandoned in the ocean and can be difficult to see. The removed nets are being analyzed to determine their origin.
“The removal of the six tons of ghost nets was important to the ecosystem of the Bay giving the reefs a chance for restoration,” said Jennifer Lynch, co-director of the Center for Marine Debris Research. “One of the largest nets had been battering the reef in Kaneohe Bay for over a year.”
Kayla Brignac, an assistant research technician and the lab manager for the center, said most of the recovered nets are made of polypropylene and polyethylene, “the same plastic that makes up your yogurt container and milk jugs.”
“Abandoned plastic, regardless of its source, does not belong in the ocean,” she added.
Mary Crowley, the founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, said the growing amount of plastics in the ocean is one of the most urgent environment issues today.
“Our ocean ecosystem provides two-thirds of the air we breathe and now is the time for major cleanup,” Crowley said.