Whale watching expedition encounters massive ocean debris

Photo: Uncruise Adventures

A recent whale watching expedition off Maui turned into a massive ocean cleanup.

On Tuesday, the Safari Explorer took a group to look for whales in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary.

That’s when they came across debris in the water that turned out to be much bigger than they anticipated.

Some crew members tried to use a couple of boat hooks to pull out a chunk of tangled fishing net. According to their estimate, it weighed between 700 and 1,000 pounds.

It was too heavy, and they ended up having to use a block and tackle to haul it all up.

“Typically when you come across these debris floats out in the water, of fishing nets, you’ll find a variety of things, maybe fish and invertebrates of a variety of species,” said expedition leader Kent Redell. “In this instance, we also came across a honu, or green sea turtle. … Unfortunately, it’s not going to be the last time someone comes across a net, but I’m hopeful it’s also not going to be the last time that people feel it their responsibility to take it out of the water.”

The crew cut up the net and put it into about a dozen trash bags. They’ll properly dispose of it the next time they reach port.

If you come across marine debris, you can report it to the Department of Land and Natural Resources or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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