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Large Ball of Derelict Nets Recovered Off Waikiki

February 1, 2018, 3:52 PM HST
* Updated February 1, 4:29 PM
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An enormous and extremely heavy ball of derelict fishing nets was recovered about 300 yards offshore in a popular surf break known as “Pops,” fronting the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki on the afternoon of Feb. 1, 2018. PC: DLNR

Three DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers and three lifeguards from the City and County of Honolulu Ocean Safety & Lifeguard Services recovered an enormous and extremely heavy ball of derelict fishing nets on the afternoon of Feb. 1, 2018.

It’s not known whether the nets are part of the two-mile-long marine debris field that was first reported by a fisherman last weekend between Moloka‘i and O‘ahu. DOCARE officers familiar with the area where the net was spotted, said they feel that it is. They say it’s unusual to finding nets of this magnitude off Waikiki.

Lifeguards first reported the net mass about 300 yards offshore in a popular surf break known as “Pops,” fronting the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. It took all six men to lift the nets out of the water and onto a DOCARE boat, which was being assisted by a DOCARE jet ski. The mass was brought to the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, where DOCARE officers were joined by staff from the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) to lift the nets off the boat and onto a dock. From there a truck was used to pull to two locations around the boat harbor office.

Tomorrow morning, staff from the DLNR Engineering Division or from DOBOR will haul the nets away, where eventually they’re expected to end up at the city’s H-Power waste-to-energy plant at Campbell Industrial Park.

There have been no further reports from mariners or the U.S. Coast Guard on the location of the marine debris field, last spotted about 9 miles south of O‘ahu. On Wednesday, a USCG air crew was unable to locate the debris field and reported it appears that it’s broken apart. They were not able to insert a marker buoy but used search and rescue software to show that it’s drifting in a northeast direction away from land.

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