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Teaming Up for A Beach Clean-Up

by Alma Tassi

On Sunday, January 28th, the educational nonprofit SHARKastics hosted their monthly beach clean up at Ka’ehu Beach with support from Maui Surfrider Foundation and sponsors Hike Maui and Kelly Bryce from a newly created affinity group called Compass Outdoors.

Under the Hawai’i Association for Marine Education and Research, SHARKastics is currently grant-funded by the County of Maui Environmental Protection and Sustainability Division and is a partner in a statewide effort to collect, study, and utilize marine debris through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sea Grant program.

SHARKastics has organized a clean-up at Ka’ehu Beach every 4th Sunday since 2012. Due to the winds and currents, the beach suffers from consistent debris from all over the world washing onto the shore. Along with 62 other participants—from kids to seniors—Bryce says, “We collected tires, fishing nets, plastic bottles, laundry baskets, a car battery, and more. My husband even dug up an old engine!”

This debris can be deadly ingestion and entanglement hazards to animals of all sizes. Bite marks on the debris are frequent evidence of this sad phenomenon, which is something being researched further during the cleanup. SHARKastics not only collects debris but also takes the time to sort, count, and weigh items to give them a quantifiable understanding of what’s washing ashore from the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch and locally. On the most recent cleanup, 8,849 pieces were collected, weighing 1,517 lbs. The group has collected over 32 tons or 717, 230 items in total.

Kelly Bryce

Photo Caption: Kelly Bryce from Compass at the Ka’ehu Beach Cleanup

SHARKastics founder Cheryl King says “We are especially extremely grateful for all of the thousands of dedicated volunteers, like the ones who helped last Sunday, who have been involved and supported this Ka’ehu Cleanup project since 2012!”

When Bryce started with Compass, their affinity group program encouraged realtors to explore their interests. With a passion for nature and outdoor activities like hiking and fishing, Bryce decided to start Compass Outdoors. The beach clean-up was her first event, and she hopes to inspire her colleagues and friends to get involved with the community. “I started the group to build community while enjoying the outdoors. I thought a philanthropic element to the group was important too.” For the next project, Bryce hopes to do native plant restoration in the Waikapu area. She says, “We love this place. Let’s do something good for the long term.”

Sharkastics welcomes locals and visitors to help make their ongoing efforts successful at keeping Ka’ehu Bay a beautiful and ecologically healthy environment for the community and the many wildlife species that utilize the area. RSVP to receive the latest safety and access information: or visit for more information.

Realtor means a member of the National Association of Realtors. Do you know a Realtors Association of Maui member who should be recognized for their contributions to the community? If so, send your story idea to Alma Tassi at

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