WATCH: Volunteers on Denman Island are nearing the end of a week-long shoreline cleanup. This year they collected the most debris ever and they say the majority of what they have found is from the shellfish industry. Something they’re calling on to change. Kendall Hanson reports.
Another truck loaded with debris comes off Denman Island. This was the 14th year volunteers cleared Denman Island’s shores.
During the week 150 volunteers collected a record amount of litter
“Every year believe it or not it increases and nothing’s different it’s increased again this year and we’re guessing we collected about six tonnes this year,” said Liz Johnston, coordinator of the Association of Denman Island Marine Stewards.
Those on Denman Island say 90 per cent of what they collect, which is mostly plastic, comes from the shellfish industry in nearby Baynes Sound.
They collected the record amount despite a shoreline cleanup in the spring that collected two tonnes.
Those involved say the flow of debris from shellfish farms needs to drop.
“It has to be secured better. I’m sure that the farmers don’t do it on purpose,” said Johnston. “It is poorly secured, storms at sea and it’s just something that has to be dealt with.”
They would like to see the industry take a more proactive role in cleaning up debris on Denman and they say they’d like to see Fisheries and Oceans ensure fish farms are following industry regulations around the Island’s shores.
“We are not finding enforcement happening on Denman Island to the extent that it’s needed,” said Linda Sheehan, also a volunteer with the association.
In an interview earlier this week the Shellfish Growers Assn said it’s making improvements.
“We use different techniques to try and minimize the amount of waste that goes to the ocean,” said Brian Yip of the Shellfish Grower’s Association Wednesday.
The Denman volunteers say they return what’s useful to the industry and most plastics are recycled. 14 years ago nearly 100 percent of what they collected went to the landfill. Now it’s just 10 percent.
But they say more action needs to be taken to ensure garbage doesn’t make it into the waters in the first place.