Beaches throughout Marlborough have been cleaned up in time for summer thanks to New Zealand King Salmon staff who took part in the Marine Farming Association’s annual Big Day Out.
Emma Hunter of the Marine Farming Association (MFA) says this year 23 organisations took part in the event, which aims to clean up coastal areas across the top of the South Island.
The official Big Day Out was Friday, 7 December, but Emma says companies could carry out their allocated beach clean on any alternative day that suited them before Christmas.
The aquaculture industry carries out beach cleans throughout the year, but the Big Day Out targets areas around the top of the South Island, “ready for the influx of visitors to our beautiful region.”
This year, NZ King Salmon’s team cleaned up the Forsyth Bay and Waihinau Bay area, and the Picton and Shelley Beach foreshores.
NZ King Salmon community sponsorship and events coordinator, Chelsea Yates, says team members from sea farms and the Picton office took part.
She was part of the crew that picked up rubbish at the Picton foreshore and Shelley Beach.
“We found quite a lot of rubbish, including plastic trapped between the rocks, and it was a good feeling to remove it and know that it would not be floating around in the sea, potentially doing damage to marine life. The whole day was a real team effort and it was good to join in this positive industry initiative to look after the environment.”
NZ King Salmon carries out regular beach clean ups adjacent to their salmon farms, including the settlement of Bulwer in the Pelorus Sound and also the Picton and Waikawa Bay foreshores.
The beach clean ups provide valuable information about the type of rubbish that is collected. The MFA analyse this data to determine how much of the rubbish collected relates to the aquaculture industry. From this information the industry can build strategies on how to improve farming practices.
Emma says the 2017 Big Day Out saw almost 1 tonne of rubbish was collected in total by the aquaculture industry, of which 81% was non aquaculture related. NZ King Salmon teams collected around 49kg of debris, of which only 2.2kg was aquaculture debris.
Items found during the clean up mainly consisted of plastic bottle caps, beer cans, plastic bread bags, chip packets and glad wrap.
The NZKS team during the Big Day Out beach clean up