Communities Work to Remove Marine Debris on the Pribilof Islands of Alaska

An overhead view of marine debris along a coastline.
UAS imagery of debris on Pribilof Islands shoreline which will be used to prioritize targeted cleanups (Photo: Aleut Community of St. Paul Island).

The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island will use aerial surveys to clean up marine debris along the shorelines. This project will build off of previous work in the Pribilof Islands by conducting cleanups on St. Paul Island, St. George Island, and Otter Island.

Type of Project: Removal

Region: Alaska

Project Dates: October 2019 - September 2021

Who is involved?
The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, with the support of a NOAA Marine Debris Program Removal Grant, and local community members from St. Paul and St. George, will use aerial surveys to clean up marine debris along the shorelines. 

What is the project and why is it important?
The Pribilof Islands have a long history with marine debris - observations of marine debris and the entanglement impacts it causes date back to the 1980’s. These impacts include protected marine mammals that are specifically relevant to the local community. This project will build off of previous work in the Pribilof Islands by conducting cleanups on St. Paul Island, St. George Island, and Otter Island. Local community members from St. Paul and St. George will work to clean local beaches by using Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) aerial surveys to both identify debris concentrations and also test for shoreline monitoring capability. All collected debris will be sorted and recycled through partnerships with Net Your Problem and Plastix Global. Any remaining gear will be backhauled by Trident Seafood, Inc. for disposal off-island. The results of the project will be shared with the community through education and outreach efforts on-island and off-island through video and multimedia content and shared through multiple social media channels.