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Oregon Coast Tsunami Debris Questions: What are the Red Bulbs?

Published 05/19/2014

(Oregon Coast) – Among the many ocean debris finds of late along the Oregon coast are red bulbs, hardy and hardened enough to make the trek across the sea. The recent run of stuff washing up – much of it presumably from the Japanese tsunami of 2011 – has resulted in a larger flood of these big red bulbs. (Red bulb photos courtesy Susan Burr, Lincoln City).

Just what are they? Central Oregon coast beach expert Fawn Custer had some answers. One currently sits on her porch at home, found last fall on a local beach.

“While some could simply be burned-out bulbs tossed overboard by fishermen, at least some also could have come from the hundreds of Japanese fishing boats destroyed and/or swept out to sea after the earthquake and resultant tsunami that struck Fukushima, Japan on March 11, 2011,” Custer said.

Custer did some research on the subject and found out a few interesting things.

“The bulb was manufactured by Takuyo Riken Co. Ltd. in Fukuoka, Japan,” Custer said. “Takuyo produces commercial squid fishing gear, including underwater lamps, as well as other lights and electrical apparatus for oceanic studies. A number of bulbs like this one have been found on the western sides of the islands of Hawaii, Maui and Kauai, as well as on Washington¹s northern coast and on the Oregon coast.”

An unusually large rush of tsunami debris last month brought a lot of unwelcome problems to regional beaches. As a member of CoastWatch and an area leader, it's her job to pay attention to these things.

“I received calls from not only CoastWatch volunteers but also beach rangers and state park managers There were three boats that washed up, numerous auto wheels, plastic crates, 55 gallon drums and other items, some with nonnative species. I sent out an all call to all of the CoastWatch mile adopters reminding them to take bags, and the contact numbers needed.” Where to stay in these areas - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

How to report tsunami debris, including latest news on the subject.

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