Fighting marine garbage
PANAMA. Marine garbage including fishing nets, plastics, party balloons, beach toys, and general household and human garbage that cause...
PANAMA. Marine garbage including fishing nets, plastics, party balloons, beach toys, and general household and human garbage that cause havoc with marine ecosystems around Panama, is being challenged by community clean up programs.
The community of La Yeguada beach in Pocri (Los Santos province) was presented with a project to clean their beaches and become involved in the solution to the problem.
The National Authority of Marine Resources (ARAP) and the company Buzos de Azuero, S.A. aim to engage the community with the extraction and collection of marine garbage. Both institutions met with the members of the community and data from the last clean up effort were revealed. The recent clean up of Iguana island and the Pedasi coast resulted in the extraction of approximately 422 meters of nets between 1 and 6 inches thick that belonged to small boats, and shrimp boats, 1,800 feet of fishing lines with 300 hooks that were damaging populations of mackerel, snapper, crabs and other species. Besides the discarded fishing equipment, they also collected 20 pounds of plastics, five tires, eight glass bottles, ten nylon bags and a 12 pound iron piece.
Diana Arauz, general manager of ARAP said these are important advances and told the Yeguada residents their support is crucial to saving high value juvenile species from ghost nets. Saul Cedeño, from Buzos de Azuero, explained the fishermen that fish in areas with rock bottoms, coral reefs, and natural fish hatcheries and who fish during adverse weather conditions could cause fragments of nets entangle turtles, birds and marine mammals causing starvation and slow death.