Monday, January 12, 2009

In which I shake my head

There was a great article in the LA Times today about divers from Catalina volunteering to cut a net from a sunken trawler which has been killing marine life for two years. The fact that the net has been killing things is not great, but the volunteers from the various diving schools and stores getting together is wonderful. You can read it here. One of my favorite parts is this:

"Wind-driven waves bucked the hull as several children on board plucked a variety of critters -- strawberry anemones, sea cucumbers, brittle stars, shrimp, crabs and snails -- off the retrieved netting and tossed them back into the ocean."

It's downright "aw" inducing. I, personally, would be squealing and as far from the critters as possibly, but I love kids who are unafraid. Then I came to this part:

"Worldwide, there are many thousands of derelict killer nets like this one, abandoned and adrift in the in the seas," said marine biologist Cooper. "In one case, abandoned fishing gear in Puget Sound was studied for 10 years. An estimated 30,000 marine mammals, fish and birds were killed each year in it."

Thirty thousand creatures were killed each year and they just studied it. In ten years they couldn't figure out a way to fix the problem? Perhaps send divers to gather the gear? A crane, maybe, if it was too heavy? Nope, let's just study this and watch the animals die. Obviously, all the abandoned nets in the sea can't be retrieved. I'm sure there were extenuating circumstances--no one claiming it, lack of government funding, no volunteer group to take up the cause--but someone cared enough to study it for ten years. Couldn't that person/group organize something? In ten years time?? If tiny little Catalina could do it...

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