Marine Debris in the


A overturned derelict vessel in a harbor.
This region includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Clear-blue waters and sandy beaches highlight the coastal areas in the Caribbean region. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands support a variety of important coastal ecosystems, such as coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangroves. The natural beauty of the Caribbean makes tourism and fishing common activities, which can create marine debris on shorelines and in coastal waters. The region is also dependent on imported goods, has solid waste management challenges, and is vulnerable to natural hazards, such as hurricanes. All of these activities and events can generate marine debris. Consumer debris, abandoned vessels, and lost fishing gear are all marine debris issues throughout the Caribbean. 

The NOAA Marine Debris Program is working with partners in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on marine debris projects to prevent negative impacts to wildlife and coastal communities. These projects, led by our Caribbean partners, include prevention strategies and action plans, education and outreach, and removal and research efforts.

Image Gallery

TRASH TALK: What is marine debris?



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.


Hurricanes and severe storms bring high winds, rain, strong waves, and storm surges that can damage or destroy your home, boat, or other property, can put your family or business at risk, and have the potential to create a large amount of marine debris. This document runs through some basic steps to prepare for storms and prevent your property from becoming marine debris.