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Underwater Cleanup Set For Keauhou Bay Saturday

September 17, 2021, 1:42 PM HST
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manta-ray
Manta ray. Photo by Bo Pardau, Second Wave Images.

To help celebrate International Manta Day this Saturday, a group of local scuba divers will be spearheading an underwater cleanup of the dive site just outside Keauhou Bay. 

The area has never had marine debris removed on this large of a scale before, according to Ocean Defenders Alliance, the organization managing the initiative. This event starts at 9 am. Those interested in participating may contact Kurt Lieber for more information at 714-875-5881.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the size of the crew will be limited to no more than 12 volunteer divers and four people helping out on the boat. Participants will spend the morning removing fishing line, as well as other marine debris that litters the area. 

Ocean Defenders Alliance utilizes volunteer scuba divers and has been removing marine debris since 2000. The divers will be carefully assessing what to remove and how best to remove the items without harming the environment.

Keller Laros, who heads up the Manta Pacific Research Foundation, will be there lending his expertise to help everyone understand the importance of removing this abandoned fishing gear. Laros has personally removed this fishing gear from mantas, turtles and even a dolphin, all of which have been entangled in mono-filament lines. 

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This is important work to do because this debris not only can kill the marine life, but it also degrades the health and quality of the marine environment. The stated goal is to create a safe and sustainable environment for the enjoyment of visitors and Kamaʻāina alike.

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Ocean Defenders Alliance is nonprofit grassroots marine conservation organization founded in 2002. It is committed to protecting the near shore rocky reef and seabed ecosystems from dangerous man-made objects, and focusing on derelict and abandoned commercial fishing gear that poses serious risk to marine life. 

ODA has removed over 45,000 pounds of abandoned fishing gear to date.  More information on Ocean Defenders Alliance can be found at oceandefenders.org.

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