Boat Sets Record For Largest Haul Of Trash Pulled From Pacific Ocean

A marine plastic recovery vessel has set a new record for the largest open ocean clean-up in history.

The Ocean Voyages Institute’s boat docked at the port of Honolulu, Hawaii, after being out for 48 days and it successfully brought back 103 tons (206,000 lbs) of fishing nets and consumer plastic.

The group already held the record from a 25-day stint last year but this new weigh-in has more than doubled what they collected back then.

Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of Ocean Voyages Institute, said: “I am so proud of our hard working crew. We exceeded our goal of capturing 100 tons of toxic consumer plastics and derelict ‘ghost’ nets, and in these challenging times, we are continuing to help restore the health of our ocean, which influences our own health and the health of the planet.

“The oceans can’t wait for these nets and debris to break down into microplastics which impair the ocean’s ability to store carbon and toxify the fragile ocean food web.”

The GPS satellite trackers used by Ocean Voyages Institute since 2018 are proving Crowley’s theory that one tracker can lead to many nets – a tagged fishing net can lead to other nets and a density of debris within a 15-mile radius.

Crowley continued: “We are utilising proven nautical equipment to effectively clean-up the oceans while innovating with new technologies.

“Ocean Voyages Institute has been a leader in researching and accomplishing ocean clean-up for over a decade, granted with less fanfare and attention than others, but with passion and commitment and making meaningful impacts.”

Jackson McMuldren, a photographer and videographer, said: “I really wasn’t aware of the scope of this giant problem. It was really frightening actually how much plastic was out there – when you look off the boat it would just be clouds of tiny pieces.

“When we would dive on the nets we’d find turtles, fish, giant tuna – they’re all dead stuck in the net. So it’s really disheartening.”

He added: “The work that Mary Crowley and Ocean Voyages Institute is doing to go out there and actually collect these nets [is] helping to solve the problem.

“It’s a monumental problem, you realise that when you’re out there because there’s plastic everywhere.”