Beachcombers on alert for invasive species from tsunami

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @gchittimK5

KING5.com

Posted on June 12, 2012 at 8:19 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 12 at 8:26 PM

When Kevin Adams spent last weekend at the Washington coast, he was excited about beachcombing.

“I got up at 4:30 in the morning,” said Adams, who lives 90 minutes away in Rochester. “I wanted to beat the crowds.”

Within a couple hours he had several floats, light bulbs and other items he suspected could be from Japan. Then it struck him. Adams had just seen the reports out of Oregon about the Japanese dock that made it all the way across the ocean with a forest of potentially invasive and dangerous sea life on it. He immediately took pictures of the mussels and other gooey creatures on the items he found and sent them to Washington State Invasive Species Coordinator Allen Plues.

“I’ve gotten several calls lately about people who have found objects on the beach,” said Plues, who works for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Plues said the pictures he got from Adams and others show no signs of dangerous invasives that could overpower native species and threaten other fish and wildlife. Most appear to be open ocean creatures which have been clinging to wood and washing up on Washington beaches for eons. But he and other experts were shocked to see that invasives from Japan were able to survive a 5,000 mile, 15-month journey on a dock that reached Oregon.

“We have to assume it will happen again,” said Plues.

Adams agrees and plans to photograph all the suspicious critters he finds clinging to possible tsunami debris in hopes of preventing an invasion.

 
 

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