Pacific Ocean’s Monster Net — The War on Trash in Hawaii

Oil isn’t the only thing contaminating the ocean these days. Recently a net weighing in at 11.5 tons was dragged out of the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii proving that the War Against Trash is more crucial than previously thought.

The Pacific Ocean’s Monster Net

This “monster net” was first spotted in the Pacific Ocean 2013 and was just considered a legend among those working for Hawaii’s Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. This first sighting occurred with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on a coral reef in the outskirts of Hawaii’s Pearl and Hermes Atoll.

“Parts of it were snagged on the sea floor. A giant tree twisted in its mass, and a green sea turtle, a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, was injured and snared in its folds,” reported National Geographic.

The Dangers of the Net

The divers, alone, were not capable of removing this mass. So, they returned to land and a few days later went out with a research team to further assess the damage done by this monster net. During those three days, the net killed three coral reef sharks, making this a more deadly scenario than previously thought.

The research team attached a GPS tracker to the net, and then they retreated to land to organize an excavation of this monster net. Things did not go as planned, because within a few weeks’ time, the net shed the GPS tracker and evaded surveillance of ocean cleanup teams; thus, the net was viewed as a legend among those who worked in ocean cleanup.

Although the net eluded capture for quite some time, that didn’t slow down researchers and activists, adamant about cleaning up the ocean and raging a “War on Trash” in Hawaii’s water and reefs.

In September, 17 NOAA members embarked on a 33 day cleanup in the Pacific Ocean around Hawaii’s coral reefs. Although their sole mission was not the “monster net”, they kept their eyes peeled for anything that might lead them to finding the infamous danger.

Trash For Days, Weeks, or Months?

Four days into their mission, NOAA members spotted the net, and they were in awe at what they saw. The net was 30ft. long and 8ft. wide. It was so full of trash that it stuck out one foot above the water. It took researchers and volunteers three days to drag this monster net, weighing 11.5 tons, from the depths of the ocean. Now, they are assessing the damage done to the reef and the wildlife of the area.

This is not the first cleanup resulting in monstrous findings of trash and litter in the coral reefs surrounding Hawaii, and it definitely won’t be the last. It isn’t enough to do cleanups, however, to completely win the “War on Trash” we have to stop the hazards at the source.

Protect, protect, protect: