Marine Debris in the

Gulf of Mexico

Collecting marine debris in Sargassum (Photo Credit: USM).
This region includes Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas

The Gulf of Mexico has a productive, diverse, and beautiful coastline. Unfortunately, it is not immune to the impacts of marine debris. Marine debris in the Gulf of Mexico ranges from large concentrations of litter (i.e. cigarette butts and plastic bottles) that find their way through the storm drains to the beaches to large 190-foot derelict vessels that disturb marshes and seagrass habitats. The NOAA Marine Debris Program aims to prevent and reduce marine debris in the Gulf of Mexico through education, research, removal, and response to large debris events. We can accomplish our goals through productive and meaningful partnerships with state, local, federal and non-governmental organizations.

Storm debris beach sign.

Regional Topics

  • To mitigate impacts from disasters, the NOAA Marine Debris Program has developed Marine Debris Emergency Response Guides to improve preparedness for response and recovery operations following an acute marine debris incident, like a hurricane, for each coastal state in the Gulf of Mexico.

Image Gallery

Overview of marine debris projects from the Gulf of Mexico Action Plan funded through the Gulf of Mexico Alliance's Gulf Star Program.



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.