Healthy Oceans. Healthy Communities.

Living Oceans launches Clear the Coast

May 7, 2013

Northern Vancouver Island

Good ideas often spawn more good ideas. Take cleaning up garbage from the inter-tidal zone for instance. An ever growing mess of garbage and plastic floating around the ocean got us thinking about what we at Living Oceans could do to inspire more good work. By the time we took our thinking caps off we came up with a brand new project: Clear the Coast.

"Volunteers have removed and disposed of a serious amount of debris from the shoreline of Malcolm Island and other northern Vancouver Island locations. Some great new ideas have hatched during their outings," said Jake Etzkorn, Living Oceans' Local Marine Planner in Sointula. "One idea the beach cleaners came up with was to remove other kinds of marine debris like lost crab traps, fishing nets and lines. 'Ghost' fishing gear is a threat to ocean health because it can keep fishing and entangle all kinds of marine species."

Removing crab trapsWith generous support of the Vancouver Foundation we're turning the volunteers' brainstorm into reality. Over the summer we organized underwater clean up efforts by the Malcolm Island Lions Club whose members offered their time and equipment to locate and remove lost crab traps in Rough Bay. On Sunday, September 23 the Top Island Econauts Dive Club organized a volunteer dive at Port McNeill to clean more lost and abandoned crab traps from the bay.

We've also heard a lot of concerned talk about the large amount of tsunami debris generated from the 2011 earthquake in Japan that's expected to arrive soon on northern Vancouver Island beaches. Living Oceans is working on a wider project with local people, businesses and regional government partners to tackle the problem.

Clear the Coast will also raise the level of awareness about the harm done to marine ecosystems from abandoned, derelict vessels that can pollute our local harbours. We're studying removal and disposal options and sharing solutions with local harbour authorities and contactors to find a way make it happen.

For more information, check out Clear the Coast on our website. With help from our funders and supporters like you, and by working with local volunteers and organizations, we're turning brain waves into realities.