Maui couple find ton of marine litter
A couple celebrates their birthday off the coast of Lana’i took the idea of picking up trash along the shore to the next level. The Maui couple, Kristin hettermann and Sven lindblad, were exploring the Lana’i coast by boat in mid-February when they spotted a large mass of fishing nets and plastic litter on the volcanic tidal pools remote by Nanahoa islet (also known as Three stones).
The couple and their captain guessed that a fishing net had washed up in the tidal pools of the three great pinnacles during the recent tumultuous weather of Hawaii. But after diving in place and climbing to investigate, Lindblad and Hettermann saw something up close that they said shocked them both: a mass of fishing net so dense it couldn’t move. The net, estimated to weigh up to 2,000 pounds, was full of an untold assortment of different types of fishing and cargo nets, buoys and other plastic trash. They estimated it to be about 30 feet in length.
It was clear they couldn’t move the large chunk of ocean trash, but as they continued their tour of the island, the couple couldn’t forget what they had seen. “As inspired ocean advocates, Sven and I constantly explore the world’s ocean, raising awareness of its challenges, encouraging behavior change and supporting organizations that do important work in ocean conservation,” said Hettermann . “It didn’t seem fair to leave him there when we had the capacity and the resources to do something about it. “
Lindblad and Hettermann contacted Captain Jason Allen of Fish N Chips Sport Fishing that night for a quote to charter the boat again, but this time they wanted to take Skylar fisher, a local freediver. The group returned the next day and began their work to collect the waste and take it to a place where it could be more easily and properly disposed of by island services.
“We had no idea how it was going to work,” Lindblad said. “It was a very difficult task. Our first attempt was to try and hook it up with a large, marine grade metal hook and use the boat’s 500 horsepower motor to pull the net back into the sea. The hook instantly bent. When we were able to tie the line around the circumference of the mace, the boat was strong enough to drag it off the ledge and into the ocean.
The group towed the mass to the Manele small boat port – a two hour journey with speeds not exceeding 2 knots per hour.
Hettermann and Lindblad said they decided to take on the challenge in the hopes their efforts would inspire others to do their part to clean up our ocean. “I hope that as we move forward into the future, new materials will be made that can meet human needs – sustenance, transportation – and will not last decades in our natural systems,” Hettermann said. “Even though what we saw was a lot of fishing nets, the fault is not with the fishermen who just dump their waste in the ocean. Much of our modern challenge is simply to clean up the remnants of the past – what was accepted and expected – that somehow made its way into our natural system. Every little piece of trash that is removed from the ocean system helps as we hopefully move towards a more sustainable future for our planet. “
Discarded fishing nets at sea remain in the marine ecosystem for hundreds of years and can lead to the accidental capture and death of dolphins, turtles and other marine life. Known as ghost fishing nets, experts have estimated that there are around 640,000 tonnes of these nets in our ocean right now, which is 10 percent of the total plastic waste in the sea.
“If you imagine someone with the means – be it a boat, willing hands, or monetary resources – seeing ocean waste as an obligation to act, citizens on all sides could do a lot to rid our oceans of this. scourge, ”Lindblad said.
Sven Lindblad, founder of Lindblad Expeditions, and his fiancée Kristin Hettermann, founder of OCEANIC LANDSCAPES, are based between Maui and new York and both are active internationally in ocean conservation. Lindblad is a Ocean elder, a member of a dedicated group of world leaders who are using their collective influence to continue to protect ocean habitat and wildlife. Hettermann is an underwater artist, writer and photographer.
Photo courtesy of Kristin Hettermann