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News and Media

News and Media

By Maui Volunteer Dive Team Coordinator Lloyd Johnson

Editor's note: We have great news to share about entangling lines and toxic lead weights being removed from the vital coastal waters of Maui! There are over 80 amazing photos so be sure to check out the photo gallery at the end of the article.

Tangled mess of fishing line, carefully removedOn left: A coral head with mess of fishing line tangled around it. On right: Diver shows us a big handful of fishing line she has carefully removed from corals!

Together Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA). Maui Mantas and Dive Maui, have performed four cleanups of Dragon's Teeth, bringing up 113 pounds, 143 pounds, 95 pounds, and 178 pounds of derelict fishing equipment. 

Makaluapuna Point

Divers include Chuck Gallup, Lindsey Kaye, Travis Thor Matteson, Misty Powell, Brian Seifert, and me. Thanks to Travis for doing a stellar job photo-documenting the day – topside, underwater, and drone!

ODA Crew heading out

Our strategy is centered around shore dives.  We’ve chosen sites that are difficult to reach from shore but frequented by fishermen. 

In the case of Dragon's Teeth, it's a long surface swim to the debris site. 

Divers entering the water for debris removal expedition

As we’re working underwater, we put the abandoned fishing tackle into collection bags made from broken umbrellas.  Reuse, recycle! 

Each diver starts with a bag and receives more bags as needed.  Filled bags are gathered in an area on the ocean floor central to the bulk of the trash.

Lift bags going up filled with abandoned fishing equipment

When divers are getting low on tank air, lift bags are attached to the collection bags, then inflated from our remaining air supply.  This sends them to the surface where we rendezvous with Dive Maui on their way back to Lahaina. 

Divers at surface to haul-out collected ghost gear

Once we transfer the trash to the Dive Maui boat, they take it to their shop.  We swim back to shore, then meet them at their shop. We recycle the lead into dive weights and give it away to partner volunteers and local dive shops.

Lead fishing weights to be removed from the ocean

ODA and Maui Mantas have been active in other cleanups that weren’t reported on. Our partner Michael Dougan has lent his boat to the cause, with mixed results at a similar site in La Perouse Bay, and one day the crew brought up a record 380 pounds of debris!   Our other partner Dive Maui does their own cleanups in addition to working with us, and has been collecting large debris near Mala Boat Ramp.   

We keep doing this important work for our ocean friends like the Honu (see pictured below)!

Honu turtle

Wherever you are, you can join in, too! Whether on land, the beach, or on/under the water, we can all pick up whatever trash we see. If you’re in Hawai’i or Southern California and see abandoned fishing gear, please let us know via our Online Debris Report Form.