LBC were delighted to participate in a marine conservation event inspired by Iain Brymer’s unfortunate discovery of a dead green turtle in ghost nets off Pui O in January. A coastal clean-up was instigated and organized by Iain, Adrienne Ng and the Treasure Island Group at Pui O, South Lantau Paddle Club and Gary Stokes (HK Sea Shepherd). On Saturday 18th June, volunteers gathered at Pui O and after a briefing divided into beach cleaning and net clearing sections.
LBC Paddling Section paddled an OC6 down in the morning to join in the net clearing. The task was to rip abandoned purse nets off the barnacle encrusted coastline and load them into supporting craft comprising a flotilla of kayaks, OC1s, paddle boards and OC6s and Gary’s rib. The nets were hard to prise off the rocks and in many cases had to be cut in order to free
them. Many yielded crabs and small fish as we dragged them to the waiting craft. These nets carry on trapping and killing marine life for as long as they remain on the coastlines. As they slowly decay they add to the increasing volume of plastic that is engulfing our oceans and penetrating the food chain.
An afternoon’s hard work yielded an estimated haul of 4 tonnes of net standing approximately 6 feet high. The beach cleaning section had collected 54 bags of rubbish, mostly plastic. The scale of the problem in Hong Kong is immense and events such as these are vital in raising the public and the government’s awareness of the problem and pushing for action to tackle the problem. Thank you to all involved in organizing and participating in Project Shelly who ensured that the death of at least one turtle did not go unnoticed.
– Tim Osborne