Marine Debris in the

Pacific Northwest

Kids on the beach with plastic bottle trash in the foreground.

The Pacific Northwest region spans Oregon and Washington, with a combined tidal shoreline of 4,436 miles. Commercial and recreational fishing along the outer coast, in rivers, and inland waters results in lost fishing gear, which often requires removal by professionals fishers and divers. Most marine debris washing up along the sparsely populated coast of the Pacific Northwest comes from all across the Pacific Rim, a testimony to the global nature of the marine debris problem. It is volunteer effort that removes most of this marine debris. Marine debris removal is difficult in remote and largely inaccessible coastal areas in the region, especially in the fall and winter when storms bring more debris on the beaches, yet make removal much more challenging.

Crab pots retrieved near Newport.

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Abandoned and Derelict Vessel information for states in the Pacific Northwest region:

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OSU: Responding to the Risks of Marine Debris: Derelict Fishing Gear



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 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.