A fisher tosses a derelict crab pot onto a pile.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program Awards Funding to 6 New Projects to Remove Marine Debris

After a highly competitive review process, the NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to announce the 6 recipients of our 2022 Marine Debris Removal awards, totaling nearly $2 million in federal funding for marine debris removal efforts in the United States, Mexico, and the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border areas. Although prevention is essential in stopping marine debris at its source, removing marine debris is also necessary to address all the debris that is already in the environment. The projects awarded under this nationwide competitive funding opportunity continue the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s commitment to develop impactful, community-driven, and cost-effective projects that benefit coastal habitats, waterways, wildlife, and surrounding communities.

With funding provided by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Implementation Act, the awards also represent the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s commitment to supporting the environmental goals of the USMCA, including the need to take action to prevent and reduce marine debris in order to preserve human health and marine and coastal ecosystems, prevent the loss of biodiversity, and mitigate the costs and impacts of marine debris. 

The 2022 funded projects are:

CAT Action Treasury, Inc. (Mexico, $500,000) will detect, remove, recycle, and report derelict illegal gill nets in the Gillnet Exclusion Zone and associated marine protected areas in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California. The project will raise awareness about how marine debris affects vaquitas, as well as maintain and analyze a database of located and removed gillnets to assist in the development of Mexico’s National Abandoned, Lost, Discarded Fishing Gear Action Plan.

Hawai‘i Pacific University (Hawai‘i, $260,000) will remove derelict fishing gear from sensitive habitats around the Hawaiian Islands. The project will also provide financial incentives for commercial fishers to collect and bring in derelict fishing gear they encounter during regular fishing operations. 

Innerspace Exploration Team (Washington, $215,000) will reduce ghost fishing by detecting and removing crab pots from Sequim Bay and Discovery Bay. The project will also provide hands-on opportunities for youth and educators to operate uncrewed vehicles for data collection and see firsthand the impact of derelict fishing gear on the marine environment.

Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, Inc. (Mississippi, $324,998) will provide funds to commercial fishers to properly dispose of derelict fishing gear and other plastic debris they encounter and bring to shore during regular fishing operations. In addition, uncrewed vehicles will be used to conduct monthly surveys at Deer Island in order to locate derelict oyster farming gear for retrieval by licensed oyster farmers.

Ocean Plastics Recovery Project (Alaska, $499,995) will remove shoreline debris in the border region between Southeast Alaska and Canada. The project will collect data about the debris and evaluate whether it can be used within existing recycling mechanisms. Activities from the project will be filmed to create outreach materials.

U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (U.S. Virgin Islands, $195,000) will conduct cleanups and assessments of marine debris in uninhabited cays and mangrove forests of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The project will train hundreds of citizen scientists in marine debris removal and data techniques and develop new outreach materials for territorial stakeholders, including resource managers, fishers, and boaters, focused on marine debris reduction.

Last updated Wed, 05/15/2024 - 04:28 pm EDT