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One of the most startling aspects of collecting in the Usan area in recent times is the sheer extent of the refuse gathering on its beaches. Upon closer examination (and believe me, sometimes this has been voluntary, and sometimes not) it would appear that the main culprits are night fishermen, who are often to be seen on the coast around Fishtown of Usan and Boddin Point. This can be deduced from observing the huge amount of broken line that is washed up, coiling up in elasticity forming clumps amongst the seaweed. Large discarded plastic bags originally containing bait (small crabs and lugworm), as well as the plastic tubs of rotting shrimp presumably used as bait on other occasions and then discarded can also be found as well as fishing weights in all sizes, empty energy drinks cans (from what I understand some night fishermen, depending on tide times, will stay up till sunrise) and confectionary wrappers etc. I have even once found a whole electrical lighting rig contained in a rucksack and presumably lost in wild weather, together with a flashlight and gutting knife, lodged amongst sand and boulders in a gully close to Elephant Rock. This is not even to mention the farm refuse that gathers there also, mainly A LOT of white discarded plastic perhaps from feed bags, oil containers (motorcycle oil in some instances), and various associated fare. This midden must be carefully negotiated in order to access banks of coastal shingle. The infamous Elephant Rock Bicycle has finally been absorbed into the sand.


I am aware that fishermen fishing at night in the area do lose a lot of gear, mainly because of how weedy and rocky the seabed is in the area, as well as because they may be fishing in inclement weather. However, there is no excuse for making no attempt to remove this from the strandline especially when it is known that seabirds can become tangled in lost line quite easily.


When I first began seriously collecting in the Usan area in the late summer of 2012, there was nowhere near as much rubbish to be found. It may be that there has been a renaissance in numbers of night fishermen of late. It should be noted that I am sure that the majority of fishermen and farmers happily tidy-up after themselves while visiting wild areas and would not dream of throwing their assorted refuse into the convenient sea.


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