Bounty for Derelict Fishing Gear in Hawai‘i
Hawai‘i Pacific University’s Center for Marine Debris Research is providing cash rewards to commercial fishers to remove over 100 metric tons of derelict fishing gear from the central North Pacific and coastal waters of Hawai‘i.
Type of Project: Removal
Region: Pacific Islands
Project Dates: September 2022 - August 2024
Who is involved?
Hawai‘i Pacific University’s Center for Marine Debris Research, in collaboration with the Hawai‘i Longline Association and the NOAA Marine Debris Program, has implemented a bounty program to incentivize the removal of derelict fishing gear at-sea by commercial fishers.
What is the project and why is it important?
Plastic pollution in the ocean is a growing issue causing both environmental and economic losses. Derelict fishing gear, including nets, ropes, lines, hard plastic floats, buoys, and more, from throughout the Pacific Ocean poses an entanglement threat to wildlife and habitats. Due to its location in the North Pacific, the Hawaiian Archipelago receives a disproportionately high volume of marine debris along its shores, including derelict fishing gear and other plastics.
Through this project, partners are implementing a bounty program that incentivizes commercial fishers to remove derelict fishing gear at-sea to reduce and prevent potential impacts to wildlife and habitat. Hawai‘i Pacific University’s Center for Marine Debris Research will also conduct monthly survey and removal efforts in Kāne‘ohe Bay on the island of O‘ahu, an area prone to derelict fishing gear accumulation. Lastly, they are analyzing all derelict fishing gear recovered and looking into alternative recycling, repurposing, and disposal methods to minimize their environmental impact.
Partners anticipate the removal of over 100 metric tons of derelict fishing gear from the central North Pacific and coastal waters of Hawai‘i. This program will also create relationships with underserved and marine debris-impacted community members, and increase education and awareness of the marine debris and derelict fishing gear issue on O‘ahu through community involvement and a goal of 3,000 volunteer hours.