Call this number to report hazardous nets to protect Hawaii’s sea turtles and whales

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Hawaii Pacific University graduate student Drew McWhirter, left, and Raquel Corniuk, a research technician at the university’s Center for Marine Debris Research, pull apart a massive entanglement of ghost nets on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 in Kaneohe, Hawaii. The two are part of a study that is attempting to trace derelict fishing gear that washes ashore in Hawaii back to the manufacturers and fisheries that it came from. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — There’s a new number to report hazardous nets that are responsible for entangling turtles and humpback whales: 833-4-Da-Nets (833-432-6387).

“We can mount a rapid response to remove these nets from our shorelines as quickly as possible and before they drift back into the open ocean,” said Kristen Kelly with the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) Protected Species Program.

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The new hotline is a collaboration between DAR and Sustainable Coastlines on Oahu, the Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute and Surfrider Foundation on Kauai, and the Hawaii Wildlife Fund on the Big Island.

“Marine pollution, including abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing nets, is one of the most significant threats impacting our ocean today,” said Tommy Cutt, the Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute’s executive director.

The Hawaii Pacific University’s Center for Marine Debris Research (CMDR) will be using many of the reported and collected ghost nets in a research study to try to source them back to their origin. The goal is the work with fisheries to prevent them in the first place.

“We rely on people to report large marine debris sightings so that we can obtain samples for this important research study. The hotline is a huge help,” said co-director of CMDR, Dr. Jennifer Lynch. 

The public is encouraged to also report hazardous marine debris through the State website where they can upload photos.

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