Fishing Boat Wreckage Removed and More Pieces of the AC72 Racing Yacht Recovered
What an amazing experience working alongside dozens of volunteers to remove more than 350 pounds of boat debris from a wrecked fishing boat, lightweight pieces of ORACLE TEAM USA’s damaged AC72 racing yacht, and additional plastic pollution from Point Reyes National Seashore beaches. This area is adjacent to the new leatherback sea turtle critical habitat for feeding, an area these endangered sea turtles rely on annually to be free from plastic pollution as they gnosh on jellyfish. When plastic and boat debris mixes with their diet of jellyfish, it can be a harmful, or even deadly, combination. Members of ORACLE TEAM USA, defenders of the 34th America’s Cup, marine conservation group Turtle Island Restoration Network, Conservation Corps of the North Bay and the America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project all pitched in!
Using rakes, shovels and digging in the sand with gloved hands, we unearthed plastic bottle tops and fishing line, rusting bolts and wrenches, a diesel fuel filter, treated wood with nails sticking out, bits of polystyrene and more than a dozen pieces of the racing yacht - mostly less than a foot long. The four-hour cleanup was conducted at Limantour Beach, about 10 miles west of the town of Point Reyes Station.
The goal of the cleanup was to pick-up and remove boat debris, plastic remnants and trash in advance of winter storms.
“Together we removed a truckload of junk from the seashore that will no longer pose a hazard to sea life or visitors walking the beach,” said Teri Shore, Program Director for Turtle Island Restoration Network, based in West Marin near Olema (www.seaturtles.org).
The ocean waters off the seashore are protected for endangered leatherback sea turtles, which feed on jellyfish and can accidentally ingest plastic bags in their search for food. Seabirds also ingest accidentally plastic or become entangled.
"Having such a diverse and dedicated team to tackle all this debris was a dream come true," said Pincetich. "Winter storms would have swept all this plastic and fiberglass out into the critical habitat feeding area of California's Pacific leatherback sea turtles, so by removing it now, we are helping protect this critically endangered population of marine reptiles."
While most pieces of ORACLE TEAM USA’s damaged AC72 racing yacht have been recovered and removed from the marine environment, a few bits are still coming ashore. The team joined the beach cleanup to add to its on-going efforts to protect the marine environment. Read more here.