Lost or discarded at sea, sometimes decades ago, Questo pesca gear continues to wreak havoc on marine life and coral reefs in Hawaii.
Adesso, researchers are doing detective work to trace this harmful debris back to fisheries and manufacturers — and that takes extensive, in-depth analysis on tons of ghost nets.
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The biggest concern is that derelict gear keeps killing fish and other wildlife, such as endangered Hawaiian monk seals, seabirds and turtles long after it’s gone adrift, said Drew McWhirter, a graduate student at Hawaii Pacific University and one of the study’s lead researchers.
“These nets bulldoze over our reefs before they hit shore,” McWhirter added. “They leave a path of destruction, pulling coral heads out, and can cause a lot of ecological damage.”
Jennifer Lynch, a research scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the co-director of Hawaii Pacific University’s Center for Marine Debris Research, catalogs pieces of ghost nets on Wednesday, Maggio 12, 2021, in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Researchers are conducting a study that will attempt to trace derelict fishing gear that washes ashore in Hawaii back to the manufacturers and fisheries that it came from. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)