I ran across an ongoing project that NOAA has been involved with since 1996, picking up marine debris around the Hawaiian Islands. I was amazed by how much they get. The latest expedition which sent the 224 foot NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette out on the northwest banks of the Hawaiian Islands hauled in 50 metric tons of mostly stray fishing gear. A majority of it was runaway fishing nets. They could have brought in much more but the ship was at maximum capacity.
The derelict marine debris is a major hazard to sea-life such as seals and turtles and generally harms the entire coral reef ecosystem that is common in the area. Since 2002 NOAA’s efforts have cleaned out 730 metric tons of nets from the ocean. As part of Hawaii’s Nets to Energy Program, the nets have been turned into a good amount of electricity. In fact it’s been enough electricity to power 330 Hawaii homes for about a year! That’s great. They are turning something destructive to the ocean and sea life into something positive and necessary for humans.
You can read much more about this and other related marine projects from the following link. http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2012/20120717_marinedebris_cruise.html
This post was written by Tony Schumacher on July 23, 2012