Derelict fishing nets are put to good use

Published: May. 6, 2009 at 11:11 PM HST|Updated: May. 8, 2009 at 6:53 PM HST
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Eric Kingma
Eric Kingma
Kris McElwee
Kris McElwee

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Hawaii-based long-line fisherman often find abandoned fishing nets when out at sea. The nets can damage boats, as well as the environment.

The Honolulu Derelict Net Recycling Program gets nets out of the ocean, and turned into renewable energy.

The Gail Ann fishing vessel brought more than just their catch back to Honolulu Harbor. Derelict fishing nets were picked up before they could impact Hawaii's marine life.

"Derelict nets that otherwise would be floating out in ocean, harming marine mammals, seabirds fish have been brought back voluntarily by the Hawaii long-line industry," said Eric Kingma of the Fishery Management Council.

As part of the program funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or N.O.A.A, Hawaii fisherman haul in nets from all over the north pacific, even though Hawaii fisheries don't use nets.

"These nets that are found in the high seas come from north pacific trawl fisheries, mid-water trawl, bottom trawls that get lost while during normal fishing operations," said Eric Kingma

"I think we all see to as our responsibility to try and get it out of the ocean to reduce its impact on us as well as on the environment," said fisherman John Hall.

The nets are collected and placed in to a container. Since 2006, Hawaii fisherman, and other local groups involved in the program have brought in more than 34-tons of marine debris.

"Probably 95% nets, with a little bit of line, ropes," said Eric Kingma.

It took just three months to fill one bin, which tipped the scale at about 9000 pounds. It's not the end of the line for all these nets. They're sent to Campbell Industrial Park along with other nets and eventually turned into renewable energy.

"It keeps nets out of our landfills and allows us to create electricity from what otherwise is a harmful and useless piece of trash," said Kris McElwee of NOAA.

It's a net gain for fisherman, the environment and thousands of Oahu residents.

Next Wednesday's learn and how the nets are turned into power for thousands of homes.