More debris washes ashore

KAPAA ­— Debris from a fishing boat has washed up in the Uhelekawawa Canal in Kapaa, about 100 yards inland from the Bull Shed Restaurant.

Carl Berg, chairman of the Surfrider Foundation’s Kauai Chapter, said the two large boat pieces are similar to features found on Japanese fishing boats that have previously washed up on the island’s shores.

“It must have come up with the very high tides last week, when the other stuff came in,” Berg said in an email.

Last week a large plastic container, probably used by fishermen to keep their fresh catches on ice while at sea, washed up on Kaakaaniu (Larsen’s) Beach. It is one of two large plastic tubs with Japanese markings reported to have washed up on Hawaiian shores last week. The other, found at Kamilo Beach on the Big Island, was removed by volunteers of the Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

On Oahu, Department of Land and Natural Resource crews Thursday retrieved a 20-foot skiff bearing Japanese characters and vessel registration numbers near Sandy Beach. It is the seventh boat reported to have washed up on Hawaii shores since February, including three on the Big Island, two on Oahu and one on Maui, according to the DLNR.

Experts say it’s difficult to say whether these items are debris from the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011.

Berg reported the boat debris at Uhelekawawa Canal Monday to the DLNR, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. He also requested its removal.

Last year, Surfrider documented 58 large marine debris items that washed up on Kauai shores, including refrigerators, fishing floats, propane tanks and a sailboat.

The risk of leaving such large, foreign rubbish in the canal is twofold: invasive species that may be living on the container could establish themselves on the island or the surf could pull the container back out to sea, where it can harm the reef, marine life and swimmers, Berg said.

In the case of the boat debris in the canal, however, Berg said he found no animals attached to the debris, nor any identifying characters.

To report large or unusual marine debris items, especially those that may have attached marine organisms, email dlnr.marine.debris@hawaii.gov and DisasterDebris@noaa.gov. Calls may also be made to DLNR at 587-0400.

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