Addressing Marine Debris in the Northeast

Posted Tue, 07/11/2017 - 11:00

Photo of Keith Cialino.Meet Keith Cialino, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Northeast Regional Coordinator, based in Gloucester, Massachusetts! Prior to joining the Marine Debris Program, Keith was the Outreach Coordinator for the Massachusetts component of the International Coastal Cleanup and was a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow with NOAA’s Fisheries Service. Additionally, he worked on his science communication skills while teaching science at three Boston Public schools as a Graduate Teaching Fellow. Keith has a B.A. in Environmental Science from La Salle University in Philadelphia, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Reach out to Keith at!

The Northeast United States is a place to enjoy all nature has to offer—snow in the winter, flowers in the spring, both sandy and rugged coastlines for summer, and beautiful foliage in the fall. Unfortunately, while enjoying the great outdoors, you might run into something else that plagues this region: marine debris. Thankfully, there are several efforts underway to address marine debris in this region. Check out some newly-established projects that are working to remove and prevent debris in the Northeast:

Working to prevent marine debris in the first place, Sea Education Association is working with the Falmouth Water Stewards to reduce the use of unnecessary single-use plastics through education and outreach. They’re working to promote behavior change around the use of such items by engaging students in marine debris lessons, social science research, and the creation of a campaign for the local community. For more on this project, check out the project profile.

Hudson River Community Sailing is also working to prevent debris, and are doing so by educating and empowering New York City high school students in their Sail Academy afterschool program. Through the collection of marine debris, education, and outreach, they are encouraging students to become stewards of their local Hudson Estuary. Students are also spreading the word by presenting at local science fairs and to members of the adult sailing club. For more on this project, check out the project profile.

Kids cleaning up a NYC beach.
On Veteran's Day 2016, students from the 2nd Year of Sail Academy braved strong winds to venture to a bird sanctuary behind the Statue of Liberty, where they collected marine debris, identified the shells of organisms that live in New York Harbor, and experienced firsthand the salt marsh environment that once made up most of its shoreline. (Photo credit: Hudson River Community Sailing)

Although prevention is the ultimate solution, unfortunately there is enough debris already in our waters that we must also work to remove it. Thankfully, efforts are underway to do just that! The Center for Coastal Studies is working to recover derelict fishing gear in Cape Cod Bay and other areas of Massachusetts Bay. Using side scan sonar to assess the abundance of derelict gear, they’re then collaborating with commercial fishermen to remove it. For more on this project, check out the project profile.

A lobsterman pulling a derelict trap out of the water.
Lobstermen work to remove an old lobster trap from Massachusetts waters. (Photo credit: Center for Coastal Studies)

There are lots of cool things happening in the Northeast! Keep your eye on our blog this week for more, and check out our website for more interesting marine debris projects in the Northeast and throughout the country!

Addressing Marine Debris in the Northeast

Posted Tue, 07/11/2017 - 11:00

For citation purposes, unless otherwise noted, this article was authored by the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

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Samantha Corine

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 02:16

OMG,I miss, the sea, I totally agreee with the point you raisedd