Lost and discarded fishing gear is hazardous, and can be a difficult marine debris problem to address. Once lost, nets, lines, and traps can entangle wildlife, create major hazards to navigation, and damage sensitive and important habitats. Because gear can have few identifying characteristics, it can be difficult to track its location, or find its source. In order to reduce the impacts to coastal habitats from derelict fishing gear (DFG), the NOAA Marine Debris Program funds projects that remove and prevent the continued impacts of fishing debris.
Since beginning in 2012, the NOAA Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP) has brought forth invaluable data, which continues to increase our shared knowledge of marine debris. Partners from around the world have contributed to this dataset by conducting 4,421 surveys at 335 monitoring sites in nine countries. The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) coordinates these efforts, which would not be possible without the dedication of MDMAP partners who lead the charge in collecting data through their passion for the ocean. Both new and experienced MDMAP partner organizations and volunteers contribute time, energy, and resources to expand our understanding of this global issue.
Marine debris is unfortunately an all too frequent sight on our coastlines. A common misconception is that all shoreline debris was left behind by beachgoers. In fact, debris makes its was to the beach from many different sources, including the sea, stormwater runnoff, wind, and nearby river or stream outlets. If you spend time exploring shorelines in different regions, you may notice that the types and amounts of debris are different from place to place (and constantly changing!).
The presence of marine debris creates numerous problems for the environment, marine life, and humans. Large marine debris presents its own unique challenges, threatening the ocean, coasts, and waterways by obstructing navigational channels, causing harm to important habitat, and diminishing commercial and recreational activities. Removing large debris requires significant financial and technical resources.
The NOAA Marine Debris Program works with partners across the country to address marine debris through several nationwide, competitive funding opportunities annually. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting community-based marine debris removal and research projects that were awarded grants during the past year.
Setting off and enjoying fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July is a beloved pastime. During this holiday, the skies light up in brilliant colors and designs, leaving us mesmerized and in awe. Whether lighting up sparklers at home or watching a large colorful aerial production, all fireworks leave behind more than memories, they also result in trash.