Adam Ichiyama said he didn’t have anything else planned on a Thursday afternoon in early December, so when he heard about the more than 5,000-pound net that washed up on Kauai’s east side, he went to lend a hand.
“Thought I’d come and help out,” he said.
Ichiyama was one about 10 community members that filtered through Surfrider’s cleanup of the net, which was reported floating in the water behind the Kapaa library Wednesday afternoon by Fish and Wildlife Service.
“We found it floating out there yesterday and tied it off,” said Barbara Weidner, head of Surfrider’s Net Patrol.
She said workers with the county helped move the massive fishing net and buoys onto shore, but it’s going to take more than muscle power to relocate it to Restore Kauai, where Surfrider stores nets before shipping them to Oahu.
“The last one that’s comparable to this that I remember was on Earth Day in 2013 or 2014,” Weidner said. “That net was about 2,000 pounds and it took us 69 man-hours to remove it.”
This net is much larger, she said.
“It’s the biggest net we’ve seen come up at one time,” Weidner said.
Volunteers with Surfrider and members of the community sawed the buoys off the net and took a truckload of net, plus a truckload of buoys to their storage site.
“It’s going to take a lot more work to get this thing out of here,” Weidner said. “We’re going to need all the help we can get.”
She secured some of that help Thursday afternoon when the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources said they’d be looking into the situation today.
“We need tractors or an excavator to get this out, and probably 35 pickup truck loads,” Weidner said.
Jan Preston Dunn dropped by to help with the net cleanup on Thursday and said she just moved to the island a month ago.
“I came here from L.A. to clean up the ocean because the Earth is sacred,” Preston Dunn said. “So I’m getting started.”
When the net was spotted in the water Wednesday, Weidner said no one expected to see the mass that ended up on the beach.
“It’s crazy,” said Val Bloy of Kapaa, who was at the cleanup and watched the team haul the net out of the water. “It’s like an iceberg. We had no idea there was so much net under there.”