Trash picked up from waters around Kodiak, AK
Are your local harbor waters clean? Are there sewage pump outs and adequate disposal stations for trash and debris? Do Alaskans even notice or care? Two quick surveys for boaters and communities aim to find out.
“And so we want to hear from boat users in the harbors as well as community members that live near the harbors and are possibly affected by the harbor. As we’ll be doing a survey for harbor masters as well and harbor staff.”
Tav Ammu is a Bristol Bay fisherman and Alaska Sea Grant fellow. He’s getting feedback from mariners and community members on how they perceive water quality in local harbors.
Disposal of sewage, called black water is a top concern. There’s a scarcity or no pump out stations in most Alaska harbors and Ammu says many boaters don’t use good disposal practices.
“Probably half of the people I talked to already had Marine Sanitation Devices on board, they just weren’t being utilized. And so that was kind of an “a ha” moment for me that it’s not that people aren’t interested or unaware, it’s just that they don’t have options necessarily. And so they have the MSD’s and the capability but they don’t use them.”
The surveys will let Alaskans pinpoint problems and offer solutions.
“So we can identify what else we need to focus on, not just this but maybe cigarette butts, or I know in Bristol Bay, at the end of the season, there’s just plastic debris floating all over the place. And I know a couple of fishermen who just go around at the end of the season and fill up garbage bag after garbage bag of trash floating around that people just either tossed overboard or it fell overboard or whatever. And if it wasn’t for those individual fishermen there’ll be bags and bags of plastic just floating and dissolving into microplastics”.
Ammu will discuss the survey results at the Alaska harbor master’s conference later this month in Anchorage.