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 main Hawaiian islands and the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument are prone to accumulating marine debris because of their central location in the North Pacific Gyre. Marine debris threatens coral reef and shoreline ecosystems, while also posing as an entanglement threat to endangered Hawaiian monk seals, humpback whales, and the threatened green sea turtles. Additionally, marine debris destroys habitats, introduces non-native species, and threatens navigation. The NOAA Marine Debris Program works with local partners to address marine debris in the Pacific Islands through removals and prevention through education and outreach. The Pacific Island Region includes the entire Hawaiian archipelago and the territories American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
- Check out the final report on Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris Aerial Imagery Analysis and GIS Support in the Main Hawaiian Islands
- Please sign up for the Hawaii Marine Debris Action Plan Quarterly Update Newsletter by emailing email@example.com.
- Marine debris generated by the 2011 tsunami in Japan continues to wash up on shorelines in the United States, including Hawaii. Learn more about tsunami debris and our efforts to address it.
Funded Partners in the Region
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.
- NOAA marine debris interactive e-comic & curriculum
- "Makani: The albatross that cares for the land" interactive workbook
- "Winged Ambassadors: Ocean Literacy through the Eyes of Albatross" curriculum
- Trash Talk video series
- Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund's Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach curriculum for grades K-5