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Tsunami debris from the Japanese earthquake is a concern for Coastal First Nations. Communities are worried about the amount of debris that may arrive on beaches, how the debris will be collected and disposed of, whether the debris is contaminated, the possible impacts of invasive species, and other health and environmental implications of debris arriving on the North and Central Coast. There is concern that increased volumes of materials of the scale predicted might significantly impact traditional food harvesting areas and other important environmental and cultural values.
A Coastal First Nations Tsunami Debris Working Group has been formed, with representation from participating Nations, to liaise with the provincial Tsunami Debris Coordinating Committee. Guardian Watchmen and other stewardship staff play an important role in monitoring the arrival of tsunami debris to their territories.
The Coastal Stewardship Network has developed the following tsunami debris documents and tools to help support member Nations:
- Tsunami Debris Brochure - This new brochure describes the issue of tsunami debris on the coast, what to do if you encounter tsunami debris and local Guardian Watchman program efforts to monitor tsunami debris when it arrives.
- Tsunami Debris Monitoring Protocol - outlines a standardized approach for gathering data on tsunami debris. Field staff will record incidental observations of all tsunami debris using existing RMS field cards and conduct periodic beach surveys on priority beaches on the outer coast using the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) protocol.
- CFN Tsunami Debris Q & A – answers some of the questions that have arisen from Resource Stewardship staff and community members
- Coastal First Nations Tsunami Debris facebook page - Use this facebook page to upload photos and sighting information, or stay up-to-date on tsunami debris-related news and resources.
- BC Tsunami Debris Coordinating Committee – includes a Frequently Asked Questions document and information from the Tsunami Debris Coordinating Committee co-chaired by provincial and federal representatives.
- BC Centre for Disease Control ‐ Status of Radiological Activity in Japan - A comprehensive list of FAQs on the Japan Tsunami and radiation concerns
- National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Marine Debris Program - The NOAA is leading efforts with federal, state, and local partners to collect data, assess the debris, and reduce possible impacts to natural resources and coastal communities.
- Japan Tsunami Debris Joint Information Centre - A cross-section of government agencies, including BC's Ministry of Environment, who have a role in dealing with increased marine debris hitting Canadian and US coastlines. The website aims to provide a “one stop shop” for helpful public information and educational resources.
- Maritime Museum of BC - Tsunami webpage - The museum is undertaking a tsunami debris photo project on Facebook.
Tsunami Debris Resources:
- Tsunami Debris FAQs (BC Tsunami Debris Coordinating Committee) - This document provides information about the BC Tsunami Debris Coordinating Committee
- FAQs - What to Do if you Find Tsunami Debris (BC Tsunami Debris Coordinating Committee) - This document answers questions about what to do if you encounter different types of debris on your beaches.
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Science Response - Tsunami Debris - DFO's response from their Science team about when and where tsunami debris is likely to arrive on BC's coast.
- Japanese Gas Cylinder Identification Info - Information to assist in the identification of substances contained within Japanese gas cylinders - iinformation describing color codes and identifying characters found on container surfaces.
- The following guides have been provided by the Japanese consulate in Seattle to assist in the identification of vessels from Japan. The documents explain the vessel registration system and how to find and read the associated numbers and lettering: How to Identify Japanese Vessel & How to Identify Japanese Vessel owner