Beachgoers in Maui County might help solve a mystery that’s been plaguing Hawaii’s waters for years.
The Surfrider Basis on Monday introduced a statewide work termed “North Pacific Hagfish Entice Task,” which seeks public enable to locate hagfish traps so the debris can be traced back to their fisheries.
Fisheries outdoors Hawaii use the black or dark gray cylinder-shaped funnels designed from strong plastic to entice “slime eels” or “hagfish.” The animals, usually discovered in temperate to cooler waters, are then offered to Korean markets as food items or used in “eel skin” merchandise these types of as wallets and boots, project officials claimed.
In Hawaii, even though, they clean up on coastlines and place marine animals at danger, especially the endangered Hawaiian monk seal.
Which is why Surfrider Basis is relying on “citizen scientists” to do detective get the job done in locating the traps and reporting them to [email protected] Aspects about wherever to send out hagfish traps will be furnished via email.
“Every hagfish entice found on a Hawaii beach has traveled 1000’s of miles on ocean currents to get here,” claimed Paia resident Lauren Blickley, Surfrider Foundation’s Hawai’i regional supervisor. “There are no local boats fishing for hagfish. All of this pollution is coming from elsewhere.”
Hawaiian monk seal pups might get the lure caught on their snouts, leading to abrasion, infection, hunger and finally dying, a Surfrider information launch stated. In excess of the last two a long time, 13 seal pups and one yearling have been uncovered entangled by hagfish traps in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. A Kauai monk seal was pictured playing with a trap, Blickley reported.
This 12 months much more than 3,000 traps had been observed by Surfrider and associates in Kauai, Maui, Lanai and Hawaii island — with about 1,000 of individuals off Lanai’s coast, task officers reported Monday afternoon. Windward-facing coastlines are particularly inclined to see the traps, while they may well pop up in Kihei or other leeward places through Kona winds.
Kihei resident Cheryl King, a marine biologist who is portion of the Surfrider challenge, stated the traps seem like outdated-school get together hats, or dunce caps. Though there are no quantities or other markings on the traps, they have distinctive styles and can be classified into groupings.
“That’s what’s heading to be pleasurable — to type of do a small bit of detective function to determine out: Are the (fisheries) in Korea applying this sort or the ones on the West Coast utilizing this kind?” explained King, founder of SHARKastics, a marine debris cleanup and analysis application.
There is not much knowledge on the traps from Hana and all around the japanese stop to Kaupo, significantly in difficult-to-accessibility destinations, she included.
“The strategy of acquiring to people more durable-to-get-to places is really intriguing to me mainly because it presents us an insight of what section of the island has diverse currents so it brings unique factors at different moments,” King reported.
Blickley on Monday afternoon stated that Surfrider has covered a great deal of floor in Hawaii to address land-primarily based sources of coastal particles. She highlighted the foundation’s perform to pass community guidelines addressing solitary-use plastics in modern decades.
Now, Surfrider can look over and above Hawaii’s shores to the sources of debris that conclusion up in the Aloha Point out. The hagfish traps help illuminate the larger concern of derelict commercial fishing equipment, she claimed.
As volunteers with Surfrider and other community teams perform beach cleanups yr just after 12 months, thirty day period following month, some start off to marvel why particles — such as hagfish traps — just cannot be stopped at the source.
“We’ve been taking away this for a extended time, but we want to quit taking away it simply because we really don’t want it to be there in the initially position,” Blickley claimed. “We really do not want to have to take away it.”
The North Pacific Hagfish Trap Challenge includes trans-Pacific partnerships between community organizations, fishers and fishery managers to decrease derelict fishing gear air pollution in Hawaii.
The collaboration includes Surfrider Foundation island chapters, Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, SHARKastics and Pulama Lana’i, along with OSEAN.internet in Korea.
For extra details, stop by hawaii.surfrider.org/hagfish.
* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at [email protected]