Marine Debris in the

Pacific Islands

Marine debris strewn along the shore of Pearl and Hermes Atoll
This region includes Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Pacific Ocean bonds and connects many islands and people. These communities share in the art and science of traditional navigation, which has fostered an intimate connection to the ocean over many generations. Today, these island communities also share in the struggle of mitigating marine debris as they work to protect the ocean. 

The Pacific Islands Region is the Marine Debris Program’s largest geographic region. Pacific Ocean currents carry marine debris from afar to these remote archipelagos, making even its uninhabited islands home to some of the most polluted beaches in the world. The Marine Debris Program works with local partners to address marine debris in the Pacific Islands through removals and prevention through education and outreach.

During the Typhoon Soudelor in 2015, the Lady Carolina broke free from its mooring and has since been a fixture in the Saipan Lagoon (Photo: Pacific Coastal Research & Planning).

Regional Topics

Image Gallery

In September 2014, a team from NOAA embarked on a 33-day mission aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette to remove derelict fishing nets and plastics from the sensitive reefs, shallow waters, and shorelines of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument



To report large quantities of marine debris (such as nets), debris with living organisms on it, or debris too large to remove by hand, call: (808) 587-0405.

You can also use the MARINE DEBRIS REPORT FORM. Please activate the locator on your phone before taking any pictures and attaching them to your report. The additional data contained in your photo will assist us in locating the debris and help to accelerate the removal process.

Fish aggregating devices are floating objects that are designed and strategically placed to attract pelagic fish. More information here

Did you know that the State of Hawai‘i has a FAD Program? Learn more here

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.