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The Good, The Sad, and The Ugly (Marine Version)

herb the verb's picture

The Good:

"...Bill Walton, a Cape Cod shellfish biologist. He explains oysters are crucial because they can filter 30 gallons of water a day. They also form reefs that attract other marine creatures. And they help prevent coastal erosion. This is the first time Massachusetts is trying an oyster restoration. So Mass Audubon is teaming up with a national conservation group and the federal government to see which types of artificial reefs work best."

The Sad:

"This fall, though, an unusually early, long cold snap and lashing winds have caused more Kemp's Ridley sea turtles, the most endangered sea turtles in the world, to wash ashore dead, says Tony LaCasse, spokesman for the New England Aquarium in Boston, which rehabilitates sick turtles and returns them to the wild.

Since late October, the aquarium has received 36 turtles, 30 of them since Thursday, LaCasse says. Most are Kemp's Ridleys.

"We had probably 20 turtles that arrived dead," he says. In past years, 80% to 90% arrived alive."

And The Ugly:

"Oil, gasoline and sewage from these boat leaks into the aquatic environment," said Sejal Choksi, program director at San Francisco Baykeeper, an environmental organization. Boat paint often contains chromium, lead, mercury and other toxic chemicals, and as a vessel deteriorates, the coating flakes off and settles on the sea floor or river bottom, where fish swallow it, Choksi said.

Government officials and environmental groups are calling for more programs and funding to prevent and clean up the junkyard flotillas."


-Hat tip to Sailing Anarchy for the last link that inspired the series.

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Salmo's picture
Submitted by Salmo on

There are exceptions, but most bottom paints protect the vessel against sea organisms by releasing toxins (usually metals). So, it's not just deteriorating boats that pose a problem, but virtually all boats. Every anchorage is befouled. My Practical Sailor included a test of bottom paints a few issues ago, and there is hope for new paints that will improve the situation. However, they are more expensive and generally less effective for now. Yachties may be switching, but the commercial waterfront will be slow to change unless further regulation requires it.