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Spot marine debris in the islands? There’s now a hotline you can call.

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 5:12 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 28, 2021 at 5:13 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s location in the middle off the Pacific Ocean makes it a magnet for drawing large lost or abandoned fishing nets that wash up on our shores.

“It’s the direction that the beach is facing and currents and winds that are coming from that direction that just bring it right to us. We’re the only land mass for thousands and thousands of miles,” said Rafael Bergstrom, executive director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

The non-profit just added a rapid response marine debris hotline so it can respond much quicker to reports of marine debris.

“They can report exactly where the net is, how big it is, approximately how many people it will take to remove it, and just some more logistics on helping our team get out there and remove them as soon as possible,” said Rachel Roehl, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii’s operations manager.

Ghost nets can weigh thousands of pounds, destroy reefs and entangle monk seals, turtles and whales. Sustainable Coastlines used to rely on social media and word-of-mouth to learn about net sightings.

The hotline will enable it to rapidly dispatch volunteers to a sight to collect the net before it washes back out to sea.

“As an organization that protects our coastlines, this is a huge opportunity for us to take action in real time,” Bergstrom said.

Roehl added: “Some of these ghost nets are so big they require tools and large groups of people to remove.”

The hotline can also be used to report ghost net sightings on the Big Island, Kauai and Maui. Sustainable Coastlines relays the information to its partner organizations.

“Now is the opportunity where if you see something on the beach you can call us and we’re able to respond,” Bergstrom said.

To report a ghost net to the hotline, call (833) 432-6387. That’s (833) 4DA-NETS.

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