Marine Debris in


A rocky beach on Santa Rosa Island in California is littered with marine debris.

California’s 1,100 miles of coastline feature an incredible diversity of habitats and marine life. A mix of major metropolitan areas and vast stretches of remote shoreline leads to a lot of variability in marine debris types and abundances washing ashore. At one extreme, the infamous Los Angeles River trash boom can capture an astounding amount of consumer debris after the first large storm – or “First Flush” – of the rainy season. On the other hand, an uninhabited beach on the North Coast sees a much lower abundance of debris over a large stretch of shoreline. Just offshore, lost or abandoned fishing gear threatens marine species and habitats. A variety of tactics are needed to solve the problem – but first and foremost is preventing debris at the source. Since 2006, the NOAA Marine Debris Program has worked with partners in the region to address marine debris through education, outreach, research, and removal projects.

Spot Prawn trap at Point Lobos.

Hot Topics

Abandoned and Derelict Vessel information for states in the California region:

Image Gallery

Tsunami Debris in California



Tsunami debris began arriving on U.S. shores in the winter of 2011-2012 and has continued washing ashore in a scattered fashion ever since, mixing in with chronic marine debris. This pattern will likely continue. Beachgoers may notice an increase in debris on beaches, in addition to marine debris that normally washes up, depending on where ocean currents carry it.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program offers several nationwide, competitive funding opportunities for marine debris projects. These include: marine debris removal grants; prevention through education and outreach grants; and research grants. Learn more about these opportunities.