Cleanup volunteers removing debris on a beach.

Banding Together to Prevent Plastic Packing Band Pollution in the Bering Sea

The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island is working to transform attitudes and behaviors around the use and disposal of plastic packing bands on St. Paul Island and within the commercial fishing and packaging industries in the Bering Sea region.

Type of Project: Prevention

Region: Alaska

Project Dates: October 2020 - November 2022

Who is involved?
The Aleut Community of St. Paul, with the support of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, will lead efforts to raise awareness of the threats of packing bands on local wildlife. The project aims to encourage behavior change through social-based marketing and a forum with commercial and packing industry stakeholders to encourage collective work towards solutions to marine debris issues. These efforts will be further supported through partnerships with the local fishing industry including Trident Seafoods.

What is the project and why is it important?
Packing bands are a critical debris type that is of specific impact and concern in Alaska and in the Bering Sea region. Often used in the shipping and fishing industry to secure heavy boxes or loads, these bands have been observed throughout Alaska, but especially in the Bering Sea, as a noted source of entanglement hazards. The same attributes that make packing bands useful on land - high tensile strength and durability - make them specifically damaging when animals become entangled in them.

Through this project, the Aleut Community of St. Paul will work with local and regional communities and industry stakeholders to raise awareness of and reduce the impacts of packing band debris. They will launch a local, community-driven outreach campaign to encourage cutting packing bands before disposal, as well as bring stakeholders together for a forum to identify permanent solutions to the issues caused by packing bands. This project will use direct community meetings as well as digital media to actively engage both the St. Paul Island community (e.g., youth, teachers, Elders, Tribal government, City government, the Native village corporation, the local fishing fleet) and representatives of the commercial fishing industry (e.g., large-scale crab and trawl fleets) to change behaviors around packing band disposal, use, and the types of materials used in packaging goods.

For more information about this project, visit the Marine Debris Program Clearinghouse.

Last updated Fri, 08/26/2022 - 10:42 am EDT