Oregon Coast Aquarium Cleans Up Yaquina Bay for World Oceans Day

June 11, 2013

Newport, Oregon— Oregon Coast Aquarium staff and volunteer divers had a trashy afternoon on Saturday, June 8 when they plunged into Yaquina Bay to clean up the underwater landscape surrounding Port Dock 1 on Newport’s Historic Bayfront.

The divers worked in shifts over the course of the afternoon to haul marine debris out of the water. By the time they climbed back on deck and pulled off their thermal dry suits, a pile of trash measuring over six feet high and weighing approximately 300 pounds had been removed from the seafloor.

Dive Safety Officer Vallorie Hodges described the cleanup as challenging, “Cold water, low visibility and physical exertion is standard for these dives. Also, pulling objects out of the soft substrate bottom results in zero visibility and a slime layer over our gear, but all the divers believe the effort is worthwhile to make Yaquina Bay a bit cleaner.”

The team selected the site because it is important habitat for local wildlife and popular with Newport residents and visitors. Seals and sea lions use the dock as a haul-out to rest on and hunt for fish in the surrounding water. Locals and tourists toss crab pots off nearby piers or look for marine life while they explore the harbor. These cleanup efforts largely focus on removing line to limit entanglement issues for SCUBA divers and marine life.

Yaquina Bay, which the Aquarium overlooks and draws its water from, is a working harbor that’s home to Oregon’s commercial fishing capital and other marine based organizations like the Hatfield Marine Science Center, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Carrie Lewis, the Aquarium’s CEO/President explained why the Aquarium organized the event when she said, “As an organization that advocates stewardship of Oregon’s ocean and coastlines we constantly strive to improve the health of the Pacific. This year, in honor of World Oceans Day, we decided the best way to put our mission into action is to remove marine debris from Yaquina Bay.”

World Oceans Day is a United Nations designated day for ocean celebration held to encourage people to take action to protect the world’s oceans.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is open every day this summer from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information call 541-867-3474 or visit www.aquarium.org.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is dedicated to the highest quality aquatic and marine science programs for recreation and education so that the public better understands, cherishes, and conserves the world’s natural marine and coastal resources. An accredited Association of Zoos & Aquariums institution, this 501(c)3 non-profit organization is ranked as one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. Visit us at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. www.aquarium.org, 541-867-3474. Follow us on Facebook.com/OregonCoastAquarium, or Twitter.com/OrCoastAquarium for the latest updates.

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