Every organization identified as a Canadian Coastal Champion is doing amazing work.
Here are some examples of projects that our Coastal Champions are working on.
UCLUELET WHISKEY DOCK CLEANUP
In June, 2017, Emerald Sea Protection Society (ESPS) teamed up with the Ucluelet Elementary School, the Ucluelet Aquarium and the District of Ucluelet to do an underwater cleanup of Whiskey Dock in Ucluelet, British Columbia. ESPS divers Bourton Scott and Gabe Howells did the marine debris recovery work, while Gideon Jones manned their remotely operated vehicle (ROV), showing the kids from Ucluelet Elementary what the divers were doing under the water in real time. Jen Adamson, Principal of Ucluelet Elementary, was on hand to help educate the kids about why marine debris removal projects like this one are important.
Under the supervision of Jen Adamson and staff from the Ucluelet Aquarium, the kids were able to take the recovered items up to the top of Whiskey dock, where it was sorted and any marine life was rescued and either released back into the ocean directly or, if necessary, placed in rehabilitation tanks provided by the Aquarium to help the animals recover before being released.
Among the debris recovered was crab traps, fish net, rope, steel cable, bottles, a tablet, several shopping carts and, the largest item that the team was able to recover - a full sized clothes dryer! With the assistance of Son Bird Refuse and Recycling, the vast majority of the recovered items were able to be recycled. The large volume of recovered material is even more distressing, as this dock was cleaned up entirely just seven years ago.
ESPS followed up the recovery work with a classroom session at Ucluelet Elementary School, where they talked to the kids about the importance of preserving the marine environment for future generations.
Pender Island Net Recovery
In April, 2016 several different organizations collaborated to remove a lost seine net off the coast of Pender Island, British Columbia. Participating organizations included World Animal Protection, Northwest Straits Foundation, Emerald Sea Protection Society, Rendezvous Dive Adventures, Archipelago Marine Research, Aquafil USA, Orca Spirit Adventures, Steveston Harbour Authority, and Tsehum Harbour Authority.
The net had been draped over an area about 30 metres wide and about 100 metres long. Northwest Straits Foundation had removed a portion of this net in 2010, but a large portion still remained. This second removal project was very successful, having removed about 4,500 pounds of net, but more still remains on the ocean floor. Difficult underwater terrain and limited visibility make removing the remaining portion a serious challenge.
Most of the net was fouled beyond being able to be recycled, but a section of it was saved and members of Emerald Sea Protection Society and Steveston Harbour Authority attempted to clean the net well enough that it could be recycled. Their efforts were a success, providing the basis for a methodology that could be used to clean other recovered nets from future recovery projects, helping to keep these materials out of the waste stream entirely.