By: Sherry Lippiatt, California Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program
Over the years of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, there have been many efforts around the country to rid our waters and shores of marine debris. As part of our ten-year anniversary celebration, let’s take a look back at one of those efforts in our California region.
Back in 2008, the Port of San Diego, with funding through the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant program, initiated a three-phase project to remove marine debris from a former anchorage site and surrounding shorelines. By 2013, over 447 metric tons of debris had been removed!
California isn’t only the site of innovative marine debris removal projects, but is also where some really interesting and creative prevention projects are taking place! Here are two new projects that the NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to be a part of:
ReThink Disposable is a project by the Clean Water Fund that works to combat the use of single-use items in restaurants. This project works directly with restaurants to help them make the transition to reusable items, reducing their waste and saving them money over time. Educational materials are also provided and displayed in order to educate customers and encourage them to make choices to reduce their contribution to marine debris. For more on this project, check out the project profile on our website.
Marine debris is a pervasive problem and unfortunately, our golden state on the west coast is not immune. However, the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) is supporting some innovative projects that are actively addressing this problem. To give you a cool example, California is the site of a nifty marine debris removal project that started last summer.
Led by the SeaDoc Society at the University of California, Davis and working with area fishermen, this project in Northern and Central California is working to fight a big debris problem: derelict crab traps. Derelict traps can cause all kinds of problems for marine life, recreational boaters, and for fishermen. Apart from losing expensive traps, the fishery suffers as derelict traps continue to capture crabs that could otherwise be caught by an active fisherman (a concept known as ghost fishing). To address this problem, commercial fishermen are going out during the closed crabbing season to recover lost pots.
The competition was open to students in grades 9 through 12 from Ohio’s 9th Congressional District. After learning about the issue of marine debris in the ocean and Great Lakes through lessons and school activities, students were challenged to develop innovative public service announcements (PSAs) aimed at inspiring others to take action to prevent and reduce marine debris. This competition not only worked to engage students and to spread the message about marine debris, but empowered students to become leaders in their communities in the fight against it.
The 2016 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands marine debris removal mission came to a close last Friday, May 13, successfully hauling in 12 tons of debris from Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. A marine debris team of 10 NOAA scientists was part of the removal effort that spanned 32 days cleaning Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary, Lisianski Island, and the French Frigate Shoals.
The annual removal mission, which began in 1996, has removed a total of 935 tons of marine debris to date including the 12 tons of marine debris from this year’s mission. The NOAA Marine Debris Program has supported this yearly effort since the program’s inception in 2006. As the program celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, it also marks ten years of funding this removal effort in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
By: Liat Portner, Amanda Dillon, and Kristen Kelly, Guest Bloggers and Scientists with the NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program
The NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) Coral Reef Ecosystem Program’s (CREP) removal mission in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is completed! For more on this effort, check us out onFacebook,Twitter, andInstagram, and take a look atCREP’s interactive daily mapfor details on daily activities.
Our team of ten embarked on the NOAA ship Hiʻialakai to begin our journey down the Northwestern Hawaiian Island chain. We began with the oldest and most northwestern of the Hawaiian Archipelago, Kure Atoll.
Landing on the shores of Kure, our team was greeted by the State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources field crew, who remove debris throughout their field season.
By: Ryan Tabata and Rhonda Suka, Guest Bloggers and Scientists with the NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program
The NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) Coral Reef Ecosystem Program’s (CREP) removal mission in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is already half way through! The removal team has finished its work at Midway Atoll and is headed to Kure Atoll for the next phase of the effort. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily updates on this effort, as well as CREP’s interactive daily map.
We were greeted by Bonin Petrels flying in the night like shooting stars and were shuttled in stretch limo golf carts to our rooms. The following morning, a brilliant orange sunrise unveiled all that is Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.