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Beachcombers Find Boat On Shore

A 17-foot fiberglass boat washed up two miles north of the Sunset Beach approach Wednesday. Now, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is working to identify the species found on the vessel.

Just after 6 a.m., a call came in to Astoria Dispatch as beachcombers and others in the area spotted the boat, believed to be debris from the March 2011 tsunami.

The Panga-style boat is made of fiberglass and is painted blue and white.

The boat was covered in creatures, ODFW Shellfish Project Leader Matt Hunter said, but most were native.

“It was mainly covered with indigenous gooseneck barnacles,” Hunter said. “About 99 percent, I’d say, of it was covered in the barnacles, a native species. Some were the largest I had ever seen, at a foot long.

“There were maybe five or six dozen mussels that could be potentially invasive. There were also a few red acorn barnacles but those are intertidal, which means there are two places they could come from – on the beach where it washed up, but we don’t have those types here, or in Japan, where they do.”

Much more tsunami debris is expected to hit the West Coast of the United States in the coming months. The Japan Ministry of the Environment estimates 5 million tons of debris was washed into the ocean when the disaster struck, claiming nearly 16,000 lives.

Approximately 70 percent of that debris sank. The rest floated away and is expected to arrive on the shores for several months to come.

This story originally appeared in Daily Astorian.

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