The Rama Exhibition

The Pacific Gyre Just Gave Up 40 TONS of Discarded Fishing Net!

fishing net

GREAT NEWS IN A NUTSHELL!  Ocean Voyages Institute successfully removed 40 ton of fishing net, including a 5 ton ghost net from the great Pacific Gyre.  They returned the debris to Honolulu, where 2 tons of it was given to artists to use in creating educational pieces, and the rest of the refuse was turned over to a zero-emissions energy plant that will incinerate it and turn it into energy.

For more information, here is their press release:

Sausalito, CA – Ocean Voyages Institute, a nonprofit organization,
announced today that it has successfully removed more than 40 tons
of fishing nets and consumer plastics from the area known as the North
Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone, or more commonly known as
the Pacific Gyre.
The sailing cargo ship, S/V KWAI, arrived in Honolulu today, having
completed a 25-day clean up mission. In the Pacific, between California
and Hawaii, four ocean currents converge to create a vortex that
collects huge amounts of plastics. One sees detergent bottles, beer
and soft drink crates, bleach and cleaning bottles, plastic furniture,
packaging straps, buckets, children’s toys, and myriad types of plastic
floating mid-ocean. This debris field covers vast expanses of ocean.
A prime target for OV Institute’s 2019 voyage was the fishing gear
called “ghost nets.” Often weighing tons, these massive nets of nylon
or polypropylene drift for decades, amassing plastic debris, ensnaring
wildlife, and even entangling ships. An estimated 600,000 tons of this
abandoned gear ends up in the oceans every year. According to the
United Nations, some 380,000 marine mammals are killed every year
by either ingesting or being caught in it.
“Satellite technology played a key role in our recovery effort, offering
an innovative solution to finding areas of dense plastic pollution,” said
Mary Crowley, Founder and Executive Director of OV Institute. “The
nets and other debris are signs of the proliferating plastic pollution that
poses threats to marine life, coastal environments, shipping, fisheries,
wildlife and our health.”
OV Institute utilized expert drone operators on board, flying survey
patterns off of both KWAI and our plastic survey vessel AVEIA to find
additional debris. The effectiveness of this year’s mission reinforces
our plan for expanded clean up missions in 2020 over a 3-month
period, using the S/V KWAI and additional clean up vessels, one of
which will be adapting fishing gear to fish for plastics.
During the past year, OV Institute recruited yachts and ships to attach
satellite trackers to the ghost nets they encountered. These bowling
ball-sized trackers, once activated, signal the nets’ locations in real
time. This data enables OV Institute to find and retrieve the trackers
and ghost nets. As the ocean tends to sort debris, the tagged nets,
have shown us to areas of heavy debris distribution, so that many
additional nets and other items can be harvested.
OV Institute collaborated with Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner of the
University of Hawaii, coordinating the NASA-funded FloatEco project
that studies physical processes controlling long-range drift of marine
debris and its accumulation in some areas of the ocean as well as
biological processes controlling evolution of the pelagic floating
ecosystem.
Ocean plastic pollution was unknown merely forty years ago. Today,
plastic has been documented in the deepest parts of the ocean—near
the Mariana Trench (depth 36,000 feet) and in the most remote ocean
ecosystems, such as Antarctica.

Crowley, a lifelong sailor, launched her first 30-day research expedition
to the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone in 2009. Additional
expeditions occurred in the following years, including small scale clean
up missions.
“It is very disturbing to be sailing through what was only decades ago
a pristine ocean wilderness and find it filled with our all-too-familiar
garbage,” says Crowley. “Urgent action is needed at all levels:
curtailing the manufacture of throwaway plastics, preventing plastic
trash from entering the oceans, and enlisting the public, corporations,
and the maritime industry in education, prevention, innovation and
massive cleanup efforts. The question is, are we ready to make it a
priority to protect 72 percent of the planet?”
About Ocean Voyages Institute
Ocean Voyages Institute (OVI) was founded in 1979 with a mission of
preserving the global ocean, the maritime arts and sciences and island
cultures. In 2009, OVI’s ocean clean up initiative was launched with the
focus on major ocean clean-up and to raise awareness regarding the
huge issue of plastic pollution.

This entry was published on July 2, 2019 at 9:47 am and is filed under Great News in a Nutshell!, Rama Good News for the Earth. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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