A major marine debris cleanup mission has begun at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off Hawaii.
The 30-day mission is led by NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center’s Marine Debris Project team. The project aims to remove a large amount of debris from the monument, which sadly is subject to a large amount of trash drifting into its waters every year.
To put the problem into perspective, it is estimated that a whopping 52 metric tons of derelict fishing gear finds its way into the monument every year from around the Pacific ocean. This debris poses a great danger to a wide range of marine species, including several endangered species like the Hawaiian monk seal or the green sea turtle.
This time around, the mission aims to remove 115,000lbs/52 tons of debris for the shallow coral reefs and shoreline around the monument. In addition, the debris removal teams will survey the amount of debris to help work out how much has accumulated since the last mission and what strategies can be developed going forward.
You can find out more about the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center here.