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Surfrider Kauai continues to remove the primary cause of injury to humpback whales and other marine life in the Pacific Ocean: derelict fishing nets.

“We are adamant about getting nets out of the ocean,” said Barbara Wiedner, Surfrider Foundation Kauai Chapter vice chair.

Wiedner said Holo Holo Charters recently pulled a large net from the water that was set on the dock at Port Allen until it could be cut up and hauled away. Weidner was joined by Steve Chin and Jenn from Blue Dolphin Charters in tackling the chore. A 423-pound net, she said, can weigh 900 pounds or more when wet, so it took a lot of work to pull it from the ocean.

“Luckily, it was all dry from sitting on the dock for a week, so we had three volunteers work for about 1.5 hours for a total of 6 hours,” she said.

Chin, Weidner added, drove from Princeville to take the net to Restore Kauai in Kapaa. Nets are stored there before being shipped to H-Power on Oahu, where they are burned for electricity.

H-Power has said each ton of recycled waste can generate between 525 to 559 kilowatts, depending on what the material is made of. The average house in Hawaii uses about 600 kilowatts per month. That means 8.8 tons of netting could potentially provide enough electricity to power one home for between seven and eight months.

In the past six months, October through March, Surfrider Kauai removed 3,075 pounds of derelict fishing nets and ropes, and 9,447 pounds of marine debris and trash. 

Surfrider began patrolling beaches for derelict fishing nets in March 2007. In 2013, a total of 17,600 pounds of nets were shipped off island.

Another large net was reported washed up near Waipake Beach and it will be removed, Weidner said.

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