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You are here: /main/research/NOWRAMP 2002/interviews/Charels J. Moore


Ship Logs

Charles J. Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation
By Scott Kikiloi

Charles J. Moore of the Algalita Foundation.Bio: Charles J. Moore of Long Beach California is the founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. His Foundation researchers are currently on the ship Alguita, anchored offshore of Tern Island, at French Frigate Shoals. This Foundation's mission is to preserve and restore the marine environment. His recent research in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands has led to some disturbing discoveries about plastic rubbish in the ocean (see feature article: "Plastics, the Quiet Killer of the Pacific Ocean")

So you work with plastics and pollution in the water?

And kelp… we also restore, we don't just study or seek to preserve it, we also do restoration work like kelp transplanting, and coral replenishment. We also do work on minimizing runoff into the ocean, and modern sewage treatment. We have a whole bunch of other things that we do besides the plastics with the foundation…. But yeah out here in the Pacific we've been looking mostly at the plastic.

What inspired you to get into this line of work?

Surfrider Foundation was one. I helped them set up their blue water task force. I have a background in chemistry, so I helped them start the Bluewater Task Force when they had a chapter in my hometown in Long Beach. Also working in Mexico with a group called Proesteros that was designed to stop building on the wetlands in Baja California. I started doing bacteriological testing from shore, where the surf zone is… then I thought "what about offshore?" We need to start looking at areas where the surfers can't get to to see where this stuff is coming from. That's when I thought about building a boat and starting a foundation.

So what places have you visited so far?

Tasmania, Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Hawai`i, Baja California, and the islands off Baja California.

How long are your work days on the boat?

Oh its twenty-four hours a day on the boat. Sort of depends if we're in or out, we're always on watch. Four hours on… eight hours off. We work day and night.

I heard that you guys went to Waikiki this past week?

Yeah we were lucky enough to be able to take some of the students of Nainoa Thompson's out to look at how we're doing our sampling, and show them how the boat performs under sails.

How is Hawai`i's ocean doing?

Hawai`i is cleaner than the area north of Hawai`i. It`s lucky because its not in the center of the gyre, but in the winter time these plastic particles come down... and that's when you get hit hardest. In the summer time it's really pretty clean. But in the wintertime areas like Waimanalo can have big, big build ups of plastics on the beach.

Have you thought of any ways of keeping companies accountable for plastic pollution in the ocean?

I think it's going to take the kids of the next generation demanding a change. I don't think the current generation and the current leaders are capable of making those kinds of demands. We can do some things through government regulations, but mostly it's going to take the demands of the next generation for a clean environment to push these companies to change. So we think it's an education thing. If you don't have a good education plan no matter what you're doing, you're really missing the boat.

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Scott Kikiloi
Kekuewa "Scott" Kikiloi

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