Interactions with nearshore hook-and-line and gillnet coastal fisheries are a primary threat to sea turtles in Hawaiʻi. Entanglement in gear can cause deep cuts that may lead to possible infections, limited movement, complete loss of a flipper, or death. To decrease harmful interactions between sea turtles and discarded fishing line, MOC Marine Institute established the Fishing Line Recycling Program (FLRP) in June 2018.
“The program provides an accessible method for fishermen to help prevent pollution and reduce entanglement hazards by properly discarding their line,” said Aleysa Martin, conservation programs coordinator, MOC Marine Institute.
Fishing line recycling bins and instructional signage are now installed at 37 high-traffic shoreline fishing locations across the island. Since June 2018, more than 20 miles of line, weights and derelict fishing gear has been collected from bins on Maui.
“We are humbled by the positive feedback our fishing line recycling program has received and appreciate our community for their efforts to help protect sea turtles and keep our reefs healthy,” said Tommy Cutt, executive director, MOC Marine Institute. “Much of the gear collected could have ended up as pollution in the ocean if it were not disposed of properly.”
Fortunately, all residents and visitors to Maui can help make a difference and decrease entanglement threats to sea turtles and other protected species by following best practices:
- Retrieve old fishing line and place in fishing line recycling bin
- Retrieve lost fishing gear and reuse if possible
- Follow the tips and guidance for fishermen outlined in the Fishing Around Sea Turtles program
- Participate in underwater cleanups and report your findings to firstname.lastname@example.org
What to do if you if see a turtle in need of help (injured, sick, hooked, entangled, etc.)?
MOC Marine Institute (MOCMI) works in partnership with NOAA Fisheries to respond to reports of sick, injured, or otherwise distressed sea turtles on the island of Maui. Statewide marine animal stranding programs are not fully operational due to COVID 19 restrictions, but MOCMI is doing its best to respond to sea turtles despite these challenging times.
808-286-2549: MOCMI Sea Turtle Stranding Response Line (Maui)
888-256-9840: Statewide Marine Animal Response Hotline
About MOC Marine Institute:
MOC Marine Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Maui, HI, was incorporated in April of 2016 and unveiled at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, HI. The institute’s mission is to inspire lifelong environmental stewardship and ensure the survival of coral reefs and sea turtles in Hawai’i through science-based conservation efforts, education, and outreach.
To learn more about MOC Marine Institute, please visit www.mocmarineinstitute.org or contact us directly at email@example.com.
Article and Images from MOC Marine Institute