LONG BEACH, Wash. - State and federal agencies learned today that the Sai-shou-maru – the 20-foot boat that washed ashore near Long Beach on March 22, 2013, with several non-native fish inside – came from Japan after it was swept out to sea by the tsunami on March 11, 2011.
The state Military Department’s Emergency Management Division (EMD) and National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) received confirmation from the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle. The consulate told EMD and NOAA officials the original owner does not wish to have the Sai-shou-maru returned.
Washington State Parks now has possession of the boat and is working with the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria to place the Sai-shou-maru on permanent loan there.
Besides the five striped beakfish found in the open well of the boat when it washed ashore, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates 30 to 50 species of plants and animals were also on the Sai-shou-maru – including potential invasive species.
State officials quickly removed the Sai-shou-maru from the beach and collected samples of potential invasive species including the fish, algae, anemones, crabs, marine worms and shellfish. These specimens are of great scientific value as scientists attempt to understand how they could have survived such a long journey and whether they pose a threat to Washington and the West Coast.
Since marine debris from the 2011 Japan tsunami can harbor non-native and potentially invasive plant and animal species, it is important the public report tsunami debris suspected items. This is easily accomplished by:
- Calling the Washington marine debris reporting hotline at 1-855-WACOAST (1-855-922-6278); and
- Emailing NOAA at DisasterDebris@noaa.gov – please include the time, date, location and, if possible, photographs of suspected tsunami debris items.
People also are encouraged to help keep beaches clean and minimize any potential invasive species threat by removing small, nonhazardous debris from beaches and properly disposing of the items.
For more information:
· People who want to keep abreast of new marine debris developments in Washington State can sign up for an information
listserv established by the state. To sign up, go to Ecology'sListserv
page and choose “marine/tsunami debris.”
· The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the best source for information about Japan tsunami marine debris including modeling, protocols to follow for handling marine debris and frequently asked questions. Go tomarinedebris.noaa.gov/tsunamidebris/