Enhancing Marine Debris Prevention and Removal Across O‘ahu Coastlines

A marine debris removal dive team on the beach, preparing to enter the ocean.

The University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program (Hawai‘i Sea Grant) is collaborating with Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response to support the growth of their marine debris removal and education efforts. 

Type of Project: NOAA Sea Grant-Marine Debris Program Partnership

Region: Pacific Islands

Project Dates: July 2021 - June 2023

Who is involved?
In partnership with NOAA Sea Grant and the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Hawai'i Sea Grant is partnering with Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response to expand programmatic activities to enhance the long-term prevention of marine debris through their Marine Debris Program. 

What is the project and why is it important?
Marine debris poses a large risk to the marine wildlife, ecosystems, and communities in Hawai‘i. Approximately, 40% of Hawaiian monk seal and 25% of sea turtle rescues conducted by Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response have been related to the entanglement and ingestion of recreational fishery gear. 

Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response, with the support of Hawai‘i Sea Grant, is expanding the  activities of their Marine Debris Program with the goal to enhance the long-term prevention of marine debris. The project team is developing new curricula with an aim to engage at least 500 middle school students and to share it with teachers. Additionally, they are working to increase community participation in their ongoing citizen-science fishing debris removal program called BEAT DEBRIS. This project is also bolstering Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response’s removal operations by supporting the maintenance, service, and data collection from 10 recreational fishing debris disposal bins at fishing locations across the island of O‘ahu. They are also conducting in-water fishing debris surveys and removal dives to remove hooks, weights, and fishing line to minimize threats to marine wildlife. Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response is committed to engaging local community members and empowering community driven stewardship through this effort.