Fleet Diving Unit members remove large tyres submerged in Island bay for years
Vancouver Crabs Issue Resolved
It is good when environmental problems are solved, and when Tyre and Rubber Recycling carried news of crabs being trapped in old mining tyres in Chemainus Bay, Vancouver, it looked like another issue that might be forgotten.
However, members of the Fleet Diving Unit from CFB Esquimalt saved the day for the crabs and the environment with the removal of four large industrial tyres from sunken barges.
The tyres had been in the bay since 2012 as part of the barges brought in for the development of the Chemainus Quay and Marina, a project that eventually failed. The structures attracted a wide variety of marine life, but the massive tyres weighing up to 400 kilograms each were trapping Red Rock and Dungeness crabs that could not free themselves and wound up perishing.
Chemainus dive enthusiasts Kathleen Fenner and Gord Bell, along with retired marine biologist Doug Biffard, North Cowichan Environmental Specialist Dave Preikshot and others, finally made some headway after much wrangling to arrange for the removal of the tyres that included the submission of a thorough Chemainus Bay Marine Debris Project March 2020 report by Fenner and Biffard to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
There was a series of steps involving the DFO before any tyre removal could take place. A lot of paperwork was required besides the actual physical work.
The Fleet Diving Unit set up floats on the tyres first for the divers to remove them smoothly and safely.
The Diving Unit did the work as a training and public relations exercise without receiving any financial compensation.
“They have been extremely supportive from the start,” praised Fenner, who has long lobbied for the tyre removal and was extremely grateful to the military personnel.
“They were willing to take on the task and they accomplished it,” she indicated. “They accomplished what they set out to do cheerfully in miserable weather, as it rained all day Tuesday and Wednesday.”
On behalf of the crabs and the aquatic environment, Fenner also acknowledged the Tire Stewardship BC and Kal Tire’s commercial division in Duncan for supporting the venture.
“I want people to realise that the ocean is no place for garbage, tyres or otherwise,” she stressed. “It causes complications difficult to remedy. I also would like it said that when we all work together – government, civilians, commercial businesses and non-profit organisations – we can accomplish a great deal.”
Kal Tire commercial division donated its crane truck with a driver to assist in the removal of the tyres once on land.
Joji Ishikawa, operations manager for Tire Stewardship BC, took on a great deal of the project’s organisation as well as the disposal. The non-profit organisation is not responsible for the recycling large non-mandated tyres. Ishikawa made every attempt to have the tyres recycled and Tire Stewardship agreed to pay any costs related to the disposal.
A good news story for difficult times.