The Green Leaf

NOAA collects 50 metric tons from Papahanaumokuakea

July 17th, 2012
Nearly 50 metric tons of marine debris, which threaten monk seals and other marine life, were collected from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, or Papahanaumokuakea. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Nearly 50 metric tons of marine debris, which threaten monk seals and other marine life, were collected from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, or Papahanaumokuakea. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Scientists aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette collected nearly 50 metric tons of marine debris from Papahanaumokuakea earlier this week.

The debris, which basically is trash that ends up in the ocean, whether it be derelict fishing nets, ropes or pieces of disposable plastic, threatens monk seals, sea turtles and other marine life in the coral reef ecoystem.

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has been conducting annual removal missions of marine debris from Papahanaumokuakea (or the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands) since 1996 as part of a coral restoration effort.

“What surprises us is that after many years of marine debris removal in Papahānaumokuākea and more than 700 metric tons of debris later, we are still collecting a significant amount of derelict fishing gear from the shallow coral reefs and shorelines,” said Kyle Koyanagi, marine debris operations manager at NOAA Fisheries’ Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and chief scientist for the mission. “The ship was at maximum capacity and we did not have any space for more debris.”

The marine debris was collected from waters and shorelines around the northernmost islands and atolls including: Kure Atoll, Midway Atoll, Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Lisianski Island and Laysan Island.

It will be converted into energy through the Hawaii Nets to Energy Program.

The NOAA team also looked for debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan, but did not find any.

One Response to “NOAA collects 50 metric tons from Papahanaumokuakea”

  1. Ruqaya:

    Looking at this images it is hard not to think that we are all doing soeinhmtg seriously wrong by thinking only of our own piece of land and not the larger picture. The size of Texas? Wow- breathtaking.


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