The delicate and extraordinary environment of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (monument) receives an estimated 52 metric tons of derelict fishing gear every year from commercial fisheries all over the Pacific. Derelict fishing gear refers to nets, lines, pots, traps, and other fishing equipment that has been lost, abandoned, or discarded in the marine environment. Most modern fishing gear is made of long-lasting and/or synthetic materials, such as plastic and metal, that can remain in the environment for many years. Derelict nets and ghost fishing are a haunting problem in the monument, and their removal is an important part of protecting and preserving the unique native ecosystem of Papahānaumokuākea.
September kicks off coastal cleanup season and that means it’s time for the 36th annual International Coastal Cleanup! Every year, the Ocean Conservancy brings people together from around the blue globe for this international effort to act locally and clean up marine debris in their communities. The NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to have partnered with the Ocean Conservancy and supported the International Coastal Cleanup for 15 years to combat marine debris. On September 18, we look forward to reconnecting with nature and with one another in small groups or pods to collect debris and data.
The NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to announce our FY 2022 Marine Debris Prevention notice of funding opportunity. NOAA will fund prevention projects that actively engage and educate a target audience (such as students, teachers, industries, etc.) in hands-on programs designed to raise awareness, reduce barriers to marine debris prevention, and encourage and support changes in behaviors to ensure long-term prevention of marine debris. NOAA will also fund projects in the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border regions, subject to additional eligibility criteria.
Following a highly competitive review process, the NOAA Marine Debris Program is pleased to announce the 25 recipients of our 2021 Removal, Research, and North America Marine Debris Prevention and Removal Grant awards totaling approximately $7.3 million in federal funds. Federal funding is matched by non-federal contributions, bringing the total investment of these marine debris projects to approximately $14.7 million.