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Old 04-22-2013, 06:16 PM   #1
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Food Waste

Ok, long time lurker, boat-less and first time question. Never seen the topic come up so I'm curious. Food scraps become... fish food or do you hold onto them until in port?

Hope to lose the boat-less status is a couple of years, it's a silly question I know. I was out with friends, after the meal the pre-wash was a dunk in the water and then into the bin. Didn't think much of it but I don't recall seeing anyone else doing it.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:25 PM   #2
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I know lots of ppl toss it overboard but I don't. I've read that the fish don't really eat all the crap we toss.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:46 PM   #3
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We don't throw anything over the side. We hold on to it until we get to a place where we can dispose of it properly.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:04 PM   #4
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We don't throw anything over the side. We hold on to it until we get to a place where we can dispose of it properly.
Same here, pack it in / pack it out. Big green double garbage bags in the aft locker.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:45 PM   #5
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we pack it out, unless it would have utility as crab bait. That being said, one of the sillier things we witnessed last year was someone shucking about a dozen ears of corn into the water. I am sure it caused no harm, but it didn't go away either and was not aesthetically pleasing.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:50 PM   #6
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A number of years ago I read a series of articles about the health of Puget Sound and the problems in some parts of it due to oxygen levels becoming so depleted the water can no longer support fish or other life like crabs, oysters, etc.

There are a lot of reasons for this and as is always the case with these things it is a very complex, multi-faceted situation with no easy one-step solution.

One thing the articles talked about was the issue of throwing food into the water on the theory that "the fish and crabs will eat it." Apparently, according to the people who study this sort of thing, they rarely do. So what happens is the decaying food goes to the bottom and becomes fodder for the algae and other organisms that are the cause of the oxygen depletion that are driving the fish and other creatures away.

So after reading that, we changed the policy on our two boats and we don't throw any food overboard ever, with two exceptions.

We use salmon heads for crab bait and when we are done crabbing for the day we will drop the head down where the pot had been. When we fish for halibut and ling cod we use herring, and when a herring has become too beat up to be any good, we throw it in the water beside the boat where it will either be picked up by a gull or an eagle or eaten (we assume) by a bottom feeder.

Everything else--- leftover food from meals, banana or orange peels, nut shells, egg shells, etc., etc. etc-- goes in the garbage to be disposed of ashore.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:56 PM   #7
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...One thing the articles talked about was the issue of throwing food into the water on the theory that "the fish and crabs will eat it." Apparently, according to the people who study this sort of thing, they rarely do. So what happens is the decaying food goes to the bottom and becomes fodder for the algae and other organisms that are the cause of the oxygen depletion that are driving the fish and other creatures away.
YES! That's what I read as well, and not specific to the Puget Sound. No more food overboard for me.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:07 PM   #8
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I throw everything over the side ever since I read that post about how much poop whales deposit.

Old TVs, small Sears refrigerators that no longer work, glass knick- knacks that my wife has cluttered the boat with, catalogs, beer bottles and cans (I always fill them first so they sink) old and spoiled food (some sea creature will eventually eat it) just about everything that's no longer needed on board. The ocean is a huge place that can & has accepted millions of tons of man's waste and handles it admirably. Remember the BP oil spill? What do you hear about it now? That's right! The ocean has cleaned it up and it is now a distant memory.

Yep, there's a lot we don't know about our oceans and their capacity for cleaning up after man.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:48 PM   #9
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Seahorse, I always thought transom doors were for easier boarding but now I realize it makes for easier sweeping of junk out of the boat.... thanks
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:52 PM   #10
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We also do not throw anything overboard, We pack it out and dispose of it ashore.

Wondering though about those boats with "garburator" type food waste disposers like in your kitchen at home. Would this be OK to use aboard??

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Old 04-22-2013, 09:01 PM   #11
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Depends where I am and what the food is. Offshore, yes it goes to the fish. The idea that filling a landfill is better recycling is not often the case. All depends on what and where.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:12 PM   #12
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I throw everything over the side ever since I read that post about how much poop whales deposit.

Old TVs, small Sears refrigerators that no longer work, glass knick- knacks that my wife has cluttered the boat with, catalogs, beer bottles and cans (I always fill them first so they sink) old and spoiled food (some sea creature will eventually eat it) just about everything that's no longer needed on board. The ocean is a huge place that can & has accepted millions of tons of man's waste and handles it admirably. Remember the BP oil spill? What do you hear about it now? That's right! The ocean has cleaned it up and it is now a distant memory.

Yep, there's a lot we don't know about our oceans and their capacity for cleaning up after man.
With you all the way Walt.

I've thrown overboard all of my non-synthetic oil, my non-Rocna anchors and my second engine.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:12 PM   #13
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Remember the BP oil spill? What do you hear about it now? That's right! The ocean has cleaned it up and it is now a distant memory.
On the chance you are not being facetious..... The only reason you don't read about it now is that it's become a distant memory to the media who are only interested in the latest sensational story because that's what sells cars and beer. The BP oil spill is no longer sensational so it is no longer being reported on.

Same as the Valdez oil spill which is still having a significant impact on the area. But you can't sell cars and beer on mundane stories about what scientists are observing and people scrubbing rocks.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:17 PM   #14
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Good one Walt.
Some larger boats have garbage compactors to reduce volume. I can`t see grinding stuff up helps, except with edibles.
Storage and disposal can be a problem; we had a well used floating garbage barge in a popular bay in our Broken Bay cruising grounds but National Parks who provided and serviced the barge removed and won`t reinstate it. Maybe cost, or someone abusing the service was the issue, either way it`s a loss for boaters.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:38 PM   #15
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One thing the articles talked about was the issue of throwing food into the water on the theory that "the fish and crabs will eat it." Apparently, according to the people who study this sort of thing, they rarely do. So what happens is the decaying food goes to the bottom and becomes fodder for the algae and other organisms that are the cause of the oxygen depletion that are driving the fish and other creatures away.

So after reading that, we changed the policy on our two boats and we don't throw any food overboard ever
The process you are talking about is called eutrophication (Eutrophication - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), a subject that I know well because my dad was a eutrophication researcher for many years and I grew up in a research camp where (among other things) we induced eutrophication in various bodies of water through artificial methods.

In a nutshell, if you increase the nutrient load on a given body of water past a certain tipping point, a bunch of organisms such as algae and plankton suddenly think that they are at an all-you-can-eat buffet and they reproduce like mad. This has the unfortunate side effect of blacking all of the sunlight and using up all of the oxygen dissolved in the water, and that in turn means that everything dependent on that oxygen (like fish and crabs) will die. It's pretty cool to see how effective it is.

The risk of eutrophication is a real one, but it is heavily influenced by the dilution of the nutrients in the water. In a basin with relatively low water exchange and a relatively high human nutrient load (e.g. Puget Sound) this is a real problem. In a basin with very high water exchange (e.g. Straight of Juan de Fuca), a major city like Victoria can dump millions of gallons of straight nutrients (AKA people poop) into the water with lower effects. As an aside, note that I did not say "none", and in fact the world's oceans are paying the price for this.

This is the major reason that we now have "phosphate free" soaps and detergents. Turns out that while phosphates are not directly dangerous to the environment, they are a great way to cause eutrophication. Same for agricultural fertilizers and animal wastes (pig poop in particular).

For all of you "whales poop in the ocean so it's OK" folks, you're sort of right but sort of not. It's not that whale poop isn't a problem, it's that when a whale in the middle of the Pacific poops it gets diluted by the whole ocean. If a bunch of whales stayed in the same place and pooped, you'd get eutrophication. And for those of you who live in places like Monterrey, you've got it now from seal poop. But, in the great cycle of life, the eutrophication leads to loss of prey, and eventually the seal population will die off. Unfortunately, when humans cause eutrophication, they don't die off as easily, they just find a new place to pollute. (It's a joke, a JOKE!).

When it comes to food overboard, I have always kept the total nutrient load in mind. If I'm in a sheltered bay without much water exchange, and with lots of boats, then it's not a good idea. On the other hand, north of Nanaimo, in a secluded anchorage, with no other boats around, the load that pleasure boats put on the ecosystem is minimal. It toss every bit of food scrap I generate overboard. Of course, the same goes of overboard sewage discharge -- fine on the middle of Johnstone Straight, not so good in Montague Harbour.

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Old 04-22-2013, 09:43 PM   #16
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The process you are talking about is called eutrophication (Eutrophication - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), a subject that I know well because my dad was a eutrophication researcher for many years and I grew up in a research camp where (among other things) we induced eutrophication in various bodies of water through artificial methods.

In a nutshell, if you increase the nutrient load on a given body of water past a certain tipping point, a bunch of organisms such as algae and plankton suddenly think that they are at an all-you-can-eat buffet and they reproduce like mad. This has the unfortunate side effect of blacking all of the sunlight and using up all of the oxygen dissolved in the water, and that in turn means that everything dependent on that oxygen (like fish and crabs) will die. It's pretty cool to see how effective it is.

The risk of eutrophication is a real one, but it is heavily influenced by the dilution of the nutrients in the water. In a basin with relatively low water exchange and a relatively high human nutrient load (e.g. Puget Sound) this is a real problem. In a basin with very high water exchange (e.g. Straight of Juan de Fuca), a major city like Victoria can dump millions of gallons of straight nutrients (AKA people poop) into the water with lower effects. As an aside, note that I did not say "none", and in fact the world's oceans are paying the price for this.

This is the major reason that we now have "phosphate free" soaps and detergents. Turns out that while phosphates are not directly dangerous to the environment, they are a great way to cause eutrophication. Same for agricultural fertilizers and animal wastes (pig poop in particular).

For all of you "whales poop in the ocean so it's OK" folks, you're sort of right but sort of not. It's not that whale poop isn't a problem, it's that when a whale in the middle of the Pacific poops it gets diluted by the whole ocean. If a bunch of whales stayed in the same place and pooped, you'd get eutrophication. And for those of you who live in places like Monterrey, you've got it now from seal poop. But, in the great cycle of life, the eutrophication leads to loss of prey, and eventually the seal population will die off. Unfortunately, when humans cause eutrophication, they don't die off as easily, they just find a new place to pollute. (It's a joke, a JOKE!).

When it comes to food overboard, I have always kept the total nutrient load in mind. If I'm in a sheltered bay without much water exchange, and with lots of boats, then it's not a good idea. On the other hand, north of Nanaimo, in a secluded anchorage, with no other boats around, the load that pleasure boats put on the ecosystem is minimal. It toss every bit of food scrap I generate overboard. Of course, the same goes of overboard sewage discharge -- fine on the middle of Johnstone Straight, not so good in Montague Harbour.

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Old 04-22-2013, 09:54 PM   #17
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The process you are talking about is called eutrophication (Eutrophication - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), a subject that I know well because my dad was a eutrophication researcher for many years....

Thank you very much for taking the time to write out that explanation. While I remember very well the gist of the article I read, the "what happens and why" details had been driven off the hard drive in my head by other stuff. So I appreciate your refreshing my admittedly very basic understanding of the situation.

It's very easy to pooh-pooh (sorry) stuff we don't understand and don't agree with. But when the facts and reasoning--- some of it scientific and some of it simply common sense--- begins to be understood, if nothing else we begin to realize there are two sides to every story. And very often we learn the side we don't agree with actually has the better science behind it.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:01 PM   #18
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Maybe you should tell New Jersey & New York. Friggin, dumping pigs.
Unfortunately, science is not always respected.

I will note, though, that Long Island Sound is now cleaner than it was 40 years ago.

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Old 04-22-2013, 10:24 PM   #19
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Wondering though about those boats with "garburator" type food waste disposers like in your kitchen at home. Would this be OK to use aboard??
I actually know of a sport fisher that has two garbage disposals, one on the port side & one on starboard. The skipper uses them to grind up chickens.They're routed directly to the water and they lay down a chum line that you can't believe. He is a shark fisherman.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:25 PM   #20
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with you all the way walt.

I've thrown overboard all of my non-synthetic oil, my non-rocna anchors and my second engine.
Funny! :-)
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