A Community Approach to Addressing and Preventing Derelict Recreational Fishing Gear

A Hawaii Marine Animal Response staff member speaking to a child and adult sitting on timber overlooking the ocean.

Hawaii Marine Animal Response will reduce the negative impacts of marine debris on protected marine species and coastal habitats of O‘ahu through the detection and removal of derelict recreational fishing gear.

Type of Project: Removal 

Region: Pacific Islands 

Project Dates: September 2020 - August 2021

Who is involved?
Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR), in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hawai‘i State Department of Land and Natural Resources, NOAA Marine Debris Program, and local dive shops, will remove recreational fishing gear from the shorelines and nearshore waters of O‘ahu through their BEAT DEBRIS program.

What is the project and why is it important?
Data collected during HMAR field activity and rescue reports shows that approximately 40% of Hawaiian monk seal and 25% of sea turtle rescues conducted by HMAR have been related to the entanglement and ingestion of recreational fishery gear. This removal project is geared to prevent protected marine wildlife from further interacting with this debris by removing the derelict recreational fishing gear that negatively impacts these species and restoring near-shore coral reef habitats.

To accomplish the mission, HMAR staff and volunteers will utilize three main approaches: 1) fishing line recycling bin installation and monitoring; 2) near-shore SCUBA and snorkel detection and removal; and 3) shoreline cleanups. Project partners will also conduct community engagement, education, and outreach to encourage ocean stewardship and to prevent recreational fishing gear debris through sustainable practices. All debris will be removed by hand and disposed of in ways that promote sustainability. Selected debris will be repurposed and used for education and outreach in K-12 classrooms and at community events to advocate for responsible fishing practices, barbless hooks, minimizing plastic usage, conscious consumer choices, and sustainable seafood practices.

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