Eckerd College, located along the sunny coast of the Gulf of Mexico, has been working hard to reduce single-use plastic consumption on campus for years. Following a successful NOAA Marine Debris Program prevention grant focused on reducing single-use plastic at Eckerd, the Reduce Single-Use Project teamed up with the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. On both campuses the team has encouraged college students to rely less on plastics through events, beach cleanups, and even an app.
The NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to present our 2022 Accomplishments Report. The report is a snapshot of the work of the Marine Debris Program and our partners throughout the fiscal year. Although the problem of marine debris continues to present challenges for wildlife, habitats, and people across the United States and around the world, the community working to solve this global problem is stronger than ever. We are proud to be a part of this community and contribute to solutions as the United States Government’s lead on the issue of marine debris.
Since our very first event in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Ocean Aid 360 Ghost Trap Rodeo, which resembles an all-ages fishing tournament with prizes, has engaged 1,085 volunteers in 22 events, from the Florida Panhandle to Key West and the Bahamas. Over that time, these participating boaters, anglers, paddlers, and beachcombers have helped Ocean Aid 360 find and remove over 162,000 pounds of marine debris, including 2,591 derelict crab and lobster traps left abandoned during seasonal closures.
Florida is unique as the only state that borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. No matter where you are in the state, you’re never more than 60 miles from the nearest body of water. It also means that the daily choices and activities of Florida’s residents and visitors can easily lead to debris in our coastal and marine habitats. Luckily, our partners across the region are kicking off the New Year with renewed energy and effort in leading marine debris removal and prevention projects to keep Florida’s waters healthy and free of debris.