Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Resource Protection section includes Regulations, Incident Response, Marine Debris, Wildlife Disturbance, Water Quality, Habitat Protection, and Permits
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Resource Protection section includes Regulations, Incident Response, Marine Debris, Wildlife Disturbance, Water Quality, Habitat Protection, and Permits
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Resource Protection section includes Regulations, Incident Response, Marine Debris, Wildlife Disturbance, Water Quality, Habitat Protection, and Permits Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Resource Protection section includes Regulations, Incident Response, Marine Debris, Wildlife Disturbance, Water Quality, Habitat Protection, and Permits

Marine Debris

photo of tiny plastic nurdles Marine debris is any persistent, manufactured or processed solid material disposed of or abandoned, intentionally or unintentionally, into the marine environment. It comes in many forms, from tiny plastic nurdlesimage indicates link leaves site to a 4,000-pound derelict fishing net. It is most visible as litter - plastic bottles and caps, rope, broken bits of plastic - that lines our beaches. Marine debris also is found in the water column and on the seafloor, primarily in the form of derelict fishing gear.

The earthquake that struck Japan in March 2011 was followed by a tsunami, which carried many tons of debris into the ocean. Some of this debris stayed afloat, is drifting across the Pacific Ocean, and mingling with marine debris transported by winds and currents. Debris linked with the tragedy in Japan started arriving on our shores early in 2012, but the majority of the Japan tsunami marine debris is predicted to reach the Washington coast after the fall of 2012. Materials originating from this tsunami tell a fascinating story of marine debris circulation in the Pacific Ocean. Increased volumes of shoreline debris are expected to require more beach cleanups in coming years to reduce threats to wildlife and restore our ocean shores to their natural beauty.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary helps to organize beach cleanups and looks for opportunities to collaborate in efforts to locate, assess impacts, and remove derelict fishing gear.

photo of a crab pot Marine debris is a global problem that threatens oceans and coasts, marine life, our economy, safe navigation, and human health and safety. Although marine debris is found worldwide, each of us can all help with small actions. Reduce your use of plastics and food packaging, reuse containers, recycle and dispose of waste in an appropriate manner. On your next beach walk, carry some beach litter back for appropriate disposal or join an organized beach cleanup to enjoy the group stewardship energy!

If we each do a little, together we can make a big difference.

photo of tiny pieces of plastic NOAA's Marine Debris Programimage indicates link leaves site supports national and international efforts to research, prevent, and reduce the impacts of marine debris. This program serves as a centralized capability within NOAA, coordinating and supporting activities within NOAA and with other federal agencies, as well as using partnerships to support projects carried out by state and local agencies, tribes, non-governmental organizations, academia, and industry.



Contact for page content: Liam Antrim
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