British Columbia

Grieg crew removes old floats, Styrofoam debris from Nelson Island

Styrofoam takes 500 years to decompose, so removing it from our shores and ocean is more important than ever

On Monday, March 22, concerned citizens alerted Grieg Seafood that some broken up floats were found washed up at Harry’s Beach on Nelson Island on the Sunshine Coast. There was a Grieg sign at the same location, so understandably these citizens contacted Grieg to let them know the location.

After sending a crew over to investigate, staff realized the floats were not Grieg’s, and that the sign found among the debris was an older version that likely blew off in a storm and washed up on shore.

Luckily Grieg had access to a Diversified Marine barge nearby, and on Thursday, Operations Manager Mike Crivea sent a crew of four over with the barge team to clean up the beach and remove the old floats and debris.

“Looking after the environment is important to our staff and Grieg Seafood,” Crivea said. “We all have to do our part.”

With the help of a crane, the crew lifted the four heavy floats onto the barge, which weighed two tonnes each, then removed the rest from the beach by hand. A lot of Styrofoam had broken up onto the beach, so to improvise, Grieg’s team used a generator and a Shop-Vac to clean up as much of the foam pellets as possible.

“I’ve got to say, that was the first time I’ve used a vacuum on a beach,” said Mark Champis, area site manager of Grieg’s Sunshine Coast. “It’s by no means a perfect job, but we did remove two large bags of [Styrofoam] chunks, and a bag and a bit just of single pellet-type pieces.”

Some experts estimate the decomposition of Styrofoam to be 500 years, with limited recycling options, so removing it from the marine environment whenever possible is important.

“If Styrofoam is left on the beach, waves and weather break it down into smaller parts, which aquatic and marine animals can consume,” Crivea said, “That, and how long it takes to break down, is why it should be cleaned up.”

Grieg would like to thank its employees and the Diversified Marine team for taking the initiative time and effort to clean up Harry’s Beach.