What comes to mind when asked “How do you celebrate the Fourth of July?” Do you think of grilling outside, setting off fireworks, and cleaning up with a broom and dustpan? Wait, did you just say a broom and dustpan? That’s right, after a night of celebrating with fireworks, it is not uncommon to find streets, beaches, and lakes littered with debris.
Millions of tons of debris enter the marine environment each year, including our trash and damaged fishing gear, and can be found at the surface of the water, down to the deepest parts of the ocean. Many marine debris items, especially plastics, are small enough to be ingested, or eaten, by wildlife, an issue of growing concern for the health of hundreds of marine animals. Animals may directly eat marine debris, or it may be consumed with prey that already has a belly full of marine debris.
We are pleased to share a recent paper that was published in the journal, Scientific Reports, by NOAA Marine Debris Program’s very own Chief Scientist, Amy V. Uhrin, in collaboration with the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, and Walsh Analytical Service. The paper discusses derelict fishing gear in the Hawaii-based pelagic longline fishery grounds, using NOAA fishery observer data.
Sea turtles are well adapted to life in the ocean and live in tropical and subtropical ocean waters around the world. Major threats to sea turtles in the United States include damage to their habitats, accidental capture during fishing, and getting tangled in or ingesting marine debris. The NOAA Marine Debris Program collaborates with partners to protect sea turtles by removing marine debris from shorelines.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program is pleased to release the “Delaware Marine Debris Emergency Response Guide: Comprehensive Guidance Document”. The Guide is a product of a collaborative process with state, local, and federal agencies.
People all over the world are concerned about marine debris and they would like to know more about it. The NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Communications Team responds to those questions we receive through email, and we’ve seen a trend. Following the National Ocean Services theme of Ocean Trivia for this week, we have created our own marine debris “trivia questions” that we hope you enjoy!
Locally sourced seafood is particularly important for island communities as they depend on the ocean for food and economic opportunities. This connects the health of the marine environment with overall public health. Such is the case in American Samoa, where local seafood is regularly consumed and where marine debris, including microplastics, has been identified as a priority pollutant.
Ocean Conservancy and its partners launched the Urban Ocean initiative just over a year ago with funding from the NOAA Marine Debris Program. Urban Ocean was designed to provide a platform for city governments to connect with one another as well as with community leaders, academia, and the private sector to develop, share, and scale solutions to the ocean plastics crisis while advancing their broader urban development priorities.