Plastic bags, fishing traps, buoys, and other debris piled up on a shoreline of Eastern Egg Rock, Maine.

Who We Are

In 2006, Congress authorized the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) as the U.S. Federal government’s lead for addressing marine debris. The MDP achieves its mission through six main pillars: Prevention, Removal, Research, Monitoring and Detection, Response, and Coordination.

MDP staff is positioned across the country in order to support projects and partnerships with state and local agencies, tribes, non-governmental organizations, academia, and industry.


The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts free from the impacts of marine debris.


The mission of the NOAA Marine Debris Program is to investigate and prevent the adverse impacts of marine debris.

Since the inception of the NOAA Marine Debris Program in 2006, NOAA has strived to help find solutions to the marine debris problem. The fiscal year 2021-2025 Strategic Plan highlights how the MDP will work with dedicated staff and partners for the next five years to make a measurable change toward reaching our vision: the global ocean and its coasts free from the impacts of marine debris.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program is authorized by Congress to work on marine debris through the Marine Debris Act, signed into law in 2006 and amended in 2012, 2018, and 2020.

On December 18, 2020, the passage of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act established the Marine Debris Foundation as a charitable and nonprofit organization. The Foundation will encourage, accept, and administer private gifts to conduct activities that augment NOAA and other relevant agencies efforts to address marine debris.

Contact Us


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