TLC for some offshore islands around P.E.I.

Published on July 28, 2014

Participants in the recent cleanup around the Murray Harbour islands celebrate.

MURRAY HARBOUR — Five offshore Islands in eastern Prince Edward Island have received some tender loving care after a kayaking event by volunteers.

The cleanup in Murray Harbour was led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, which partnered with the Island Nature Trust and the Southeast Environmental Association.

Thirty-three volunteers in tandem and sea kayaks along with a canoe, travelled 10 kilometres to access Cherry, Thomas, Gordon, Herring and Reynolds islands.

The group had sunny skies, increasing winds and were helped by three provincial government staff. One of them, Mark Arseneault, was kept busy. He used a speed boat to haul back to shore all of the debris that was collected by volunteers.

In all, one large dumpster and a pick-up truck were filled with bags of garbage and marine litter. The trash featured hundreds of buoys along with three tires.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada organized the event because marine garbage that washes up on these shores pose a threat to wildlife, from ingestion and entanglement. The Murray Harbour islands are an important foraging grounds for harbour seals, bald eagles and great blue herons.

Volunteers on the kayak trip did spot two harbour seals, common terns, commorants, great black-backed gulls, willets, juvenile bald eagles and osprey.

Four of the Islands are presently owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Island Nature Trust and the Government of Prince Edward Island. The remaining site, Thomas Island, is a current campaign by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, trying to raise funds to buy it from a private land owner for permanent conservation.