We know we have TONS of work to do – literally!!
We returned to the LA Harbor Lighthouse area on Thursday to continue with our Backyard Cleanup Campaign. Topside conditions were excellent, and we saw a feeding frenzy going on inside the breakwall about 200 yards from the lighthouse. Lots of gulls, terns, sea lions, and dolphins chasing bait fish around.
This was to be a survey dive: to better plan our activities, I wanted to know the rough boundaries of the area we've been working on so we can estimate how long it will take us to clean up this large, localized area of debris-polluted ocean.
Volunteer divers Steve Millington and Andy The jumped in the water at 8:20am. They were both using dive scooters that allowed them to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short period of time. In all, they traversed about a half-mile square. In this one small area of ocean floor they clearly saw five abandoned traps and many hundreds of yards of polypropylene line...the kind that has recently entangled (and endangered the lives of) migrating whales as they travel along the southern California coast. They reported seeing large rocks completely covered with orange and strawberry anemones, and that they were in awe of all the different types of nudibranchs.
We accomplished our goal, now know the approximate size of the site, and will take more divers in the following weeks to remove all we can. Steve and Andy couldn't resist themselves and removed 150 lbs of traps and about 300 feet of poly line. Great job guys!
Thanks to John Krieger and Graham Futerfas for doing all the deck work. This was an awesome example of team effort, and it took all of us to get the job done. We are now able to go out on our next several dives and target specific areas, saving ODA valuable time on and under the water. With the beginning of lobster season 2 months away, we want to remove as much of this abandoned gear before we have to stop on October 1st. The more we remove, the less chance there will be for another senseless whale death by entanglement.
I want to thank all of our supporters and volunteers, because without you, our ocean defense actions would not be possible!
Captain Kurt Lieber
Founder and Executive Director
Ocean Defenders Alliance