Assessing Marine Debris in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Steep cliffs along an ocean shoreline.

The NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuary Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is collecting and analyzing data to better understand the marine debris problem in the Sanctuary.

Type of Project: Research

Region: California

Project Dates: August 2020  - September 2023

Who is involved?
With support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in collaboration with California Marine Sanctuary Foundation, is assessing and analyzing available data to support decision-making and management efforts related to marine debris in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. 

What is the project and why is it important?
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (Sanctuary) is one of the largest national marine sanctuaries in the United States with diverse marine wildlife and ecosystems. Unfortunately, the Sanctuary also experiences the issue of marine debris. In order to address and develop solutions to the impacts of marine debris in the Sanctuary, more information is needed about the problem of plastic pollution and land-based litter. 

The NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, in collaboration with California Marine Sanctuary Foundation, is working to identify and compile historic and existing data collected on marine debris in the Sanctuary, compare that data, and identify any debris trends and hotspots. This effort is important in understanding the overall impact of marine debris in the Sanctuary, informing its management, and ultimately, reducing marine debris. 

Partners will compile a final report outlining the project and results from the data compilation and analysis, including a discussion on data gaps and the qualities of a useful dataset, types of debris entering and transported to the sanctuary, and any priority debris types and hotspots. These recommendations will be shared with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council and the public to reduce marine debris impacting the Sanctuary.

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