Winter storms are fierce and powerful along the coast of the Pacific Northwest, capable of moving fishing gear far from where it was deployed. The peak of the Dungeness crab season is in the dead of winter, coinciding with storm season, a major contributor for gear loss. Lost crab pots and other derelict fishing gear harm the environment, pose a risk to navigation, and negatively impact the economy.
To visitors of the Pacific Northwest, beaches along the Pacific Ocean and the Puget Sound seem stunningly beautiful and often pristine. A closer look reveals that these beaches, like beaches the world over, are impacted by marine debris that harms the ecosystem, creates navigational hazards, and negatively affects the economy.
Despite the fact that cigarette smoking is on a steep decline, cigarette butts remain the top littered item in San Francisco, and the most common item found on beaches around the world. They’re easy to miss, but once you see them, you’ll never “unsee” them. Surfrider San Francisco’s Hold on to Your Butt program has one ambitious goal: to end cigarette litter so we never have to see those butts again. Through volunteer power, the program works to bring awareness to the environmental impact of the cigarette flick.
California is not only home to beaches, super blooms, and stars, but is also home to 12% of the population of the United States, and the fifth largest economy in the world. With such concentrated human and economic activity, marine debris can be a serious problem. However, California is leading the way on waste reduction and marine debris prevention efforts.
Earth Day is right around the corner! This year, it falls on this coming Monday, April 22nd. We encourage you to celebrate by taking the opportunity to join in the fight against marine debris and prevent trash from entering our ocean, waterways, and Great Lakes.
It’s that time of year—we are excited to announce the winners of the Annual NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest! We received hundreds of impressive entries from around the country, and although we wish we could showcase them all, we are excited to share this year’s winners with you.