On Thursday, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that all barnacles, shellfish, and seaweed still attached to the 70 foot dock that washed ashore earlier this week be removed. As one of the largest pieces of debris from last year’s tsunami in Japan to wash ashore in North America, some of the sea organisms still attached are native to Japan and could be considered “invasive species” to the United States’ western coast. Made of concrete and metal, the rectangular sea dock measuring over 20 meters long was found on Oregon’s Agate Beach on Tuesday morning.
After finding a plaque that identified the debris as coming from Japan, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) contacted the Japanese Consulate in Portland, who then confirmed that the dock was lost from Japan’s northern prefecture Aomori in the March 11th tsunami last year. The OPRD stated that the dock was sitting on the beach, and covered in marine organisms, some native to North America, and others specific to Japanese waters. Those that are native to Japan are the ones to be concerned about, as the fish and wildlife department fear they could be invasive species. As a result, the organization is working with volunteers to collect and remove any organisms still attached to the dock.
OPRD spokesman Chris Havel stated that the wreckage has already been tested and proved negative for any radioactivity related to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. The exotic species on the dock include mussels, barnacles, and marine algae, with one called wakame in Japanese, known to be invasive to North America. In addition to the dock itself, any organisms dependent on salt water are to be removed from the beach.
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