World Oceans Day is an exciting time for us at the Emerald Sea Protection Society! For the first time, all five directors of the organization came together to complete an abandoned gear recovery project, in collaboration with Ucluelet Elementary School (School District 70), the District of Ucluelet, Ucluelet Aquarium, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, and Sonbird Refuse and Recycling.
Divers Bourton Scott and Gabe Howells made a splash off of Whiskey Dock in Ucluelet to see what was lurking beneath the surface. What they found was pretty shocking: shopping carts, crab traps, fish net, bottles, a cell phone and even a washer/dryer! An enthusiastic group of kids from Ucluelet Elementary helped sort the debris as and get it prepped for recycling by Sonbird Refuse and Recycling. Staff from the Ucluelet Aquarium was on hand to rescue any marine life that was trapped in the debris and to ensure that any creatures were handled properly and carefully before being released back into the environment.
It was a cold, rainy day (in June!) but everyone had a great time and learned a lot about the marine environment and the impacts of human activity on the local ecosystem.
The next day, ESPS gave a presentation at Ucluelet Elementary which gave a background on the scope of the lost fishing gear/marine debris problem worldwide and also showed a short video of the work that was done the day before. Overall the event was a huge success and we’re looking forward to doing more events like this in the future!
We’d like to thank all of our supporters and partners on this project, and note that his was made possible by a small grant from the Canada 150 Program.
Check out the video below for an overview of the event and to see what we recovered!