Volunteers free animals, clean beaches and ocean

  • Photo contributed by Surfrider Kauai

    Lionel Hoapili reported a net and rope mass floating off Whaler’s Cove December 21 and tried to paddle out before calling Surfrider’s Net Patrol and other community members for help.

  • Photo contributed by Surfrider Kauai

    Marine animals were found in a mass of net and rope floating off Whaler’s Cove on December 21, just one of several nets Surfrider’s Net Patrol has retrieved during the winter season.

  • Photo contributed by Surfrider Kauai

    Chris Queen and others working with Surfrider’s Net Patrol cut up this net reported at Nukolii Beach Park on Christmas Eve, where visitors walked the beach.

LIHUE — Turtles, starfish, crustaceans and other fish were all freed from a floating mass of net and rope at Poipu’s Koloa Landing recently, just one of several large masses that have landed on the radar of Surfrider Kauai’s Net Patrol in December.

The net was reported on Dec. 21 and volunteers, as well as staff with Seasport Divers, towed it into Kukuiula Small Boat Harbor, where the Net Patrol took over.

“Creatures were living inside,” Surfrider representatives said in a press release. “We found as many as we could and returned them to the ocean.”

The next day, the team went over to Larsen’s Beach, where they pulled a net from the sandy surf, and on Christmas Eve, Net Patrol’s Scott McCubbins pulled four nets from an area near Pono Kai Resort in Kapaa.

“Yesterday I was walking my dog at 6 a.m. at Fuji Beach, where we live, and there was a net floating out there,” McCubbins said Thursday. “Volunteers came out and helped pull out a big net.”

And later Wednesday night, McCubbins went over to Aliomanu, where a net was reported.

Thursday, McCubbins was headed to Nukolii, where people pulled nets from the water.

It’s a phenomenon that happens every winter, according to Surfrider — bigger waves bring in more marine debris, and a good chunk of that is made of nets and rope.

While final numbers are still being calculated for the amount of marine debris Surfrider has collected throughout 2018, they’ve reached about 105,000 pounds of trash and marine debris like plastic and nets.

“Nets is about 60 percent of what we’ve collected this year,” McCubbins said. “The wintertime definitely brings in more than the summertime.”

And while McCubbins and his team has been busy dragging nets off beaches around the island, he said there’s still more to be done.

“There’s a net partially submerged at Kitchens and at Moloaa. There’s nets and plastic out there,” he said.

B-RAD Foundation is targeting the net at Kitchens on Sunday, and is asking volunteers to meet at the Tim Bynum Bridge, formerly the Kamalani Kai Bridge, at Lydgate Park, at 3 p.m.

Info: 635-2593 or 816-781-5883

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Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.

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