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Marianas fishermen help cleanup marine debris

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The Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, in partnership with the Saipan Fishermen’s Association, held its 3rd Marine Debris Contest during the 31st Annual Saipan Fishing Tournament.

During the competition, MINA challenged fishermen to collect any man-made trash floating in the water. Twenty-one fishermen brought in marine debris while they were fishing during the tournament. All qualifying entries had the opportunity to win prizes such as a $500 gift certificate to Joeten and reusable bags.

“Since the beginning of this contest, over 300 lbs of marine debris were collected out of the ocean. We’ve had some pretty bizarre items like a locker door, a wakeboard, and a tire. Most of the common items were buoys left by other boats,” said program manager Becky Furey. “MINA would like to remind everyone to be a responsible steward for the ocean. From everyday litter like plastic bags, plastic wrappers and plastic bottles, to batteries, kitchen appliances, fishing nets and other waste—the trash gathering in the ocean is turning our beautiful reefs into dumps. None of our waste belongs in the ocean.”

Today, MINA is working to reduce marine debris through a campaign that encourages the community to reduce plastic pollution. The Plastic Bag Challenge is a campaign that promotes the use of reusable bags in order to decrease the CNMI’s reliance on plastic bags. Let’s work together for a clean and healthy ocean.

This year marks 10 years of MINA’s founding. Tickets are now on sale for the Green Gala, MINA’s largest fundraiser of the year. With proceeds going toward the ongoing work to conserve the diverse natural resources of the region, this year is even more special as Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance celebrates 10 years of working with island communities to sustain the natural environment to ensure the island way of life. Contact MINA to find out more about the Green Gala and the different programs focused on conservation at 233-REEF or email minaoutreach@gmail.com. (MINA)

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