It was early in the morning last Thursday (May 3rd), as we headed out on ODA’s boat, the 40-foot Clearwater, to do a scouting dive. I was joined by dedicated volunteers Steve Millington, Andy Thee, John Krieger, and Jeff Connor. I had a hunch that there would be some abandoned traps in an area that is frequented by commercial lobster fisherman, just outside the L.A. Harbor entrance. With three gray whales getting entangled in trap gear over the past three weeks, I was worrying about what other gear could be waiting for additional migrating whales and felt compelled take action.
The first dive didn't reveal much, but thankfully we did find about 30 pounds of line. From there we headed to a second site about 400 feet away that was in 62 feet of water. Steve and Andy were the only divers, but wow did they find the mother load! After they were down for about an hour, we saw 3 lift bags come to the surface. Each one had a trap attached to the bag, as well as lines and trap remnants. The first load we hauled in was almost a staggering 200 to 300 pounds! In total we removed 3 traps, several hundred feet of line, and lots of remnants of traps. We will get an accurate weight on all the gear, but we are estimating it totals 500-600 pounds.
This is exactly the kind of abandoned gear that the whales get entangled in when they traverse through our waters. Last year we saw a female and her calf go by this area, not a half mile away. It keeps us motivated to continue to get in the water and remove the derelict gear. Your support can help us accomplish this task. Donating, volunteering, and spreading the word can all greatly help our mission. Please visit our Donation page on our website – just use your credit card as usual, no registration for PayPal required!
For clean oceans,
Founder and President
Ocean Defenders Alliance