Building Partnerships and Removing Marine Debris in the Pacific Islands

Three derelict vessels partially submerged close to a beach.

Pacific Coastal Research & Planning is removing and assessing abandoned and derelict vessels and large marine debris in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Freely Associated States in the Pacific Islands.

Type of Project: Removal

Region: Pacific Islands

Project Dates: July 2023 - June 2026

Who is involved?
Pacific Coastal Research & Planning (PCRP), in collaboration with the Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF), and support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program through the Inflation Reduction Act, is assessing and removing abandoned and derelict vessels and derelict fishing gear from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Republic of Palau. In addition, this partnership is exploring opportunities to expand removal efforts into the other Freely Associated States (FAS).

What is the project and why is it important?
To address the challenging and complex issue of abandoned and derelict vessels, derelict fishing gear, and large marine debris in the territories and Freely Associated States, Pacific Coastal Research & Planning is establishing a series of partnerships. These partnerships will form a network to share lessons learned, challenges, opportunities, and resources to support large marine debris removal efforts. The framework that will serve as the guide for each partnership is a step-by-step process that will be tailored to each location, depending on situation and need.

This project includes extensive large marine debris surveys to support and prioritize removal and disposal efforts in each community. A community outreach campaign will accompany removal activities to allow for engagement and future prevention efforts. The project is also removing four abandoned and derelict vessels from the island of Rota and 20 large payaos (fish aggregating devices) from Palau’s nearshore environment. In addition, the project includes the development of an abandoned and derelict vessel  and large marine debris inventory, and will establish relationships with the Department of Defense and Freely Associated States for future removal efforts in the region.

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