NOAA Marine Debris Program e-Newsletter | May 2024

Cover of the NOAA Marine Debris Program Turning the Tide of Trash Newsletter.

A tangled pile of derelict fishing gear on the shoreline (Photo: NOAA).

In This Issue

Special Funding Opportunity

Special Funding Opportunity

2024 Art Contest Winners

Papahānaumokuākea Marine Debris Project Update

Breaking Down Plastic Facts and Myths

Unwelcome Catch

Quick Links

Marine Debris Website
Marine Debris Blog
Monitoring Toolbox
In Your Region
ADV InfoHub

Clipboard at the beach.

Monitoring Toolbox

The NOAA Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project has an updated Monitoring Toolbox! Check out the new video tutorials and database visualization tools, along with refreshed guides and field datasheets. The Monitoring Toolbox contains all of the resources you need to get started.

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Website & Blog

Special Funding Opportunity: Nationwide Fishing Trap Removal, Assessment, and Prevent Program

A tangled pile of derelict fishing gear on the shoreline with waves in the distance.

A tangled pile of derelict fishing gear on the shoreline (Photo: NOAA).

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science, is requesting proposals under the Nationwide Fishing Trap Removal, Assessment, and Prevention (TRAP) Program. With funding from the NOAA Marine Debris Program provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science will award up to $1,475,000 in grants to remove derelict fishing traps throughout coastal waterways of the United States while collecting data to prevent future gear loss. Apply here!

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Special Funding Opportunity: Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund

A half sunken vessel that crashed into a marina walkway, surrounded by debris and marked off with caution tape.

An abandoned derelict vessel crashed into a marina walkway in Ft. Myers Yacht Basin caused by Hurricane Ian (Photo: NOAA).

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is requesting proposals under the Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund now through July 26. With funding from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, NFWF is seeking applications for approximately $6 million in grants to remove marine debris from impacted coastal areas. The program will primarily fund marine debris assessment, removal, restoration, and disposal activities in coastal communities in Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and South Carolina. Projects will prevent further damage to sensitive coastal habitats and species and reduce the impacts of marine debris on properties, community infrastructure, assets of economic importance, and navigation safety. Apply here!

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Congratulations to our 2024 Art Contest Winners!

A colored pencil drawing of a hand reaching into the ocean amid sea creatures holding signs with "no littering" messages on them.

Artwork by Anika A. (Grade 4, Washington), winner of the Annual NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest.

Thank you to all the students and schools that participated in this year’s contest. We appreciate your art and care for our ocean and Great Lakes. The winning artwork is featured in a calendar, which will help to remind us every day of the importance of being responsible stewards of the ocean. Check out all of this year’s winners that will be featured in our 2025 calendar, available later this year.

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Kuaihelani: Taking a Closer Look at Marine Debris within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

A aerial photograph of the barrier reef surrounding Midway Atoll.

An aerial image of Kuaihelani's barrier reef (Photo Credit: NOAA).

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine Debris Project will soon complete a 19-day mission to Kuaihelani, modernly known as Midway Atoll, to clean up shoreline debris. The NOAA Marine Debris Program is supporting this work through a 5-year grant to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) using $5.8M in funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This funding to NFWF is being matched by Marc and Lynne Benioff for a total investment of $12M over a 5-year period. Additional funding for this mission is being provided by the NOAA Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program and the M/V Casitas Trustee Council. Stay tuned for final numbers and a summary of the mission by subscribing to our blog

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Breaking Down Plastic Facts and Myths

An aerial photo of a wave crashing onto a shoreline piled with marine debris.

A wave crashing on shore into a pile of marine debris (Photo: Parilov via Adobe Stock).

Fact: Plastic is the most abundant type of marine debris in our ocean, Great Lakes, and waterways. As the U.S. Federal government’s lead for addressing marine debris, we compiled everything you need to know about plastic and its effects on the planet. There is a lot of information out there and we are “breaking down” some facts and common myths about plastic and marine debris. 

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Unwelcome Catch: Fishermen's Stewardship Role Reeling in Marine Debris

A man standing behind a pile of mylar balloons laid out on the ground that were collected from fishermen.

Captain Nate Severdija stands with the Mylar balloons that he caught during just one season of fishing charters off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts (Photo: NOAA Fisheries).

A small group of fishermen are making a big impact by catching more than just seafood on their fishing trips, collecting balloons they see while out on the water. The act of releasing balloons—deliberately or not—may seem harmless. But no matter how far they travel, balloons eventually fall and wash up in our ocean, Great Lakes, and waterways. In 2019 alone, volunteers around the globe collected more than 104,000 balloons during the annual International Coastal Cleanup organized by the Ocean Conservancy. One of the most common types of balloons found on these coastal cleanups are Mylar, also known as foil, balloons. Read more about this unwelcome catch and how you can help combat marine debris, one balloon at a time!

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