Located in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Archipelago is surrounded by thousands of miles of vast blue ocean. Hawai‘i’s crystal clear waters and landscapes are home to over 9,000 endemic species, making it one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Hawai`i’s marine animals face increasing threats from human activities and Hawaii Marine Animal Response works daily with NOAA, the State of Hawaii, and other partners to conserve protected marine animals and reduce threats to their survival.
Consistent shoreline monitoring and data gathering efforts are essential to understanding local marine debris issues, how they change over time, and what types of debris are most common. Between 2012 and 2018, monthly marine debris monitoring surveys were conducted at six Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary beaches, located on the North-Central California Coast near San Francisco, and identified shotgun wads as one of the four most commonly found plastic items across all surveyed sites. A project to reduce plastic shotgun wad debris from entering San Francisco Bay and depositing onto coastal beaches was carried out and is documented in the report, “A Behavior Change Campaign to Reduce Plastic Shotgun Wad Debris on the North-Central California Coast.”
The Pacific Ocean’s vast size and resources have brought those who call it home great abundance and a high level of resiliency. Today, these island communities rely on their resiliency to confront the issue of marine debris in an effort to protect the Pacific. Using community-based and creative approaches, dedicated organizations in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and Hawai‘i are working to protect and restore marine habitats, prevent marine debris through product research and design, and mitigate the effects of derelict fishing gear on endangered and threatened species with the support of the NOAA Marine Debris Program.
The NOAA Marine Debris Program is pleased to share the 2021 Mid-Atlantic Marine Debris Action Plan. This document is the result of a collaborative effort between the Marine Debris Program and local, state, and federal governments, nonprofits, industry, and academic institutions, and represents a partner-led effort to guide marine debris actions in the Mid-Atlantic for the next five years.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is soliciting nominations to serve on the Board of Directors of the new Marine Debris Foundation. NOAA seeks nominees representing a variety of backgrounds, areas of expertise, and experiences, and who will contribute to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive Board that supports activities related to marine debris. Nomination packages are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 30, 2021.
Up to 20,000 pots from Delaware’s recreational blue crab fishery may sit on the murky bottom of Delaware’s Inland Bays, getting swept around by the currents and mired in the mud. There, they await rescue – inadvertently scraping across the bottom, getting in the way of boats, and continuing to ghost fish by trapping crabs, fish, and other wildlife. A new project, led by the University of Delaware and Delaware Sea Grant, is using side-scan and live sonar to identify and recover derelict crab pots lost and abandoned in Delaware’s Indian River Bay.
The Mid-Atlantic region is home to diverse industries, large urban cities, and beaches popular for tourism. Our partners are working hard to keep the coast clean to conserve all that we love about the Mid-Atlantic. Seven prevention and removal projects supported by the NOAA Marine Debris Program are currently underway in the Mid-Atlantic, spanning issues from single-use plastics and consumer debris, to abandoned and derelict fishing gear and vessels.
Club Marina is a group of high school females interested in environmental science in Puerto Rico who are committed to protecting the environment. In an effort to educate and raise awareness about the dangers of marine debris, they’ve been hard at work creating videos about hurricanes and debris in Puerto Rico. In this series of Spanish videos, viewers have the opportunity to understand more about preventing marine debris, hurricane preparedness, and debris management.
Most of us in coastal communities know the term “ghost fishing” and why it is bad, but to get a handle on the problem here in the Texas Mid-Coast area local scientists are diving deeper into the issue by looking for the root causes of the problem. The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, with funding from a NOAA Marine Debris Program removal grant, is expanding efforts to remove derelict traps and gather standardized data that can be used to better assess the ecological and economic impacts and help identify the causes of trap abandonment.
The Gulf of Mexico’s coastal habitats are a treasure trove of biological diversity and unique ecosystems. They’re also a vital resource for coastal economies, industries, and communities, and are impacted by human activity in many ways. One ongoing challenge in the Gulf of Mexico region is the problem of marine debris. From local litter and abandoned fishing gear, to restaurant waste and debris dams, marine debris in the Gulf States is a complex issue. Fortunately, our partners in the region are up for the challenge and are leading efforts to prevent and remove debris across the Gulf.