Ecosystems are complex and fragile. When a non-native species is added to an established ecosystem, sometimes the ecosystem adjusts and sometimes havoc is wrought. When an introduced species upsets the balance of an ecosystem, we call those invasive species. Evidence has shown that marine debris can carry organisms across the ocean. As more species travel to previously inaccessible areas on rafts made of our trash, it becomes more likely that some of these species may start to disrupt the ecosystems they colonize.
In 2018, our Florida-based nonprofit, Ocean Aid 360, was awarded a one-year NOAA MDP Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant to test our innovative Ghost Trap Rodeo project, designed in partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Coastal Conservation Association of Florida. To the casual observer, this gathering of shallow draft vessels and local fishing families might look like any other well-attended inshore fishing tournament familiar to area residents, but the goal of the project is to remove no less than 15,000 pounds of debris from Tampa Bay, Florida’s largest open water estuary, which includes Essential Fish Habitat and protected marine zones, while also promoting a community stewardship and conservation ethic for NOAA Trust Resources
The NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to release the Great Lakes Land-based Marine Debris Action Plan 2018 Action Summary Report. This report highlights all the important work completed by Great Lakes partners, as the plan officially comes to a close in 2019. Since creating the first the Great Lakes Land-based Marine Debris Action Plan in 2014, over 30 participating organizations around the region have worked together to complete 22 actions addressing marine debris in the Great Lakes.
Many people think of Florida and the Caribbean islands as vacation destinations. Warm sun, beautiful beaches, and clear waters attract people from all over the world. Some people are even lucky enough to live in these places all year round. Locals want to protect their stunning beaches and natural resources from the hazard of marine debris. The two newest Marine Debris Program projects in this region focus on getting the residents of the Sunshine State involved in making a difference when it comes to marine debris on their community.
Valentine’s Day is all about showing your love. Don’t just show your love to another person, but to our ocean and Great Lakes too. Follow the Marine Debris Program’s Guide to the perfect Valentine’s Day.
The Smelly Science of Tracking the Movements of Microplasticsalexis.thorbeckeWed, 02/06/2019 - 08:24
Where does plastic go once it enters the ocean? This is a harder question to answer than it may seem. When we think of plastic pollution, most of us think of large pieces of plastic floating at the surface of the ocean, but that’s only a piece of the puzzle. Plastic can be found at every depth in the ocean. Some of that plastic does float, but some drifts underwater, and some sinks all the way down to the ocean floor. It is especially hard to keep track of the smallest pieces of plastic, microplastics less than 5mm in size. Recent research is revealing that those microplastics are being moved not just by currents and weather, but by animals through their digestive tracts.