Marine Debris Removal in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Diver retrieving net in Hawaiian waters
Divers removed an 11.5 ton "super net" from the NWHI.

Workers haul in derelict fishing nets

In 2014, NOAA removed approximately 57 tons of derelict fishing nets and plastic litter from the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument's tiny islands and atolls, sensitive coral reefs and shallow waters. A team of 17 NOAA divers helped remove 7,436 hard plastic fragments, 3,758 bottle caps, 1,469 plastic beverage bottles and 477 lighters and an 11 1/2 ton "super net."

NOAA has led this mission every year since 1996, removing a total of 904 tons of marine debris, including 2014's haul. The 33-day mission took place from September 25 – October 27, 2014 with a crew aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette.

Check out some interesting resources and web stories about this effort, the area, and how it is particularly vulnerable to marine debris:

From the Blog

NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette
Follow MDP staffers aboard the Sette as they take you along on the journey to Midway.
Read the latest:

Bottle Caps, Lighters, and Birds Don’t Mix: Cleaning Up Marine Debris at Midway Atoll

10/17: Where Are All of These Derelict Nets Coming From?

Read more mission blogs >>

Follow the ship's position in real time with NOAA's Ship Tracker>>

The Problem In-Depth

Coral reef laying on a net

Explore the marine debris issue with articles on the mission, its history, how the debris gets to the Monument, and the impacts.

Read the Latest:

Photo of the Day

Hauling derelict nets over the side of a small boat at Maro Reef.

Chief scientist Mark Manuel hauls derelict nets over the side of a small boat at Maro Reef.


Marine Debris Filling the Sea

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What do a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean and the Antarctic have in common? Unfortunately, it’s marine debris.

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