Posted: September 24, 2021

Clean-up mission to PMNM returns with more than 124,000 pounds of marine debris
‘A‘ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia: No task is too big when done together by all.

Diver cuts a large derelict fishing net off the reef as two divers haul it into the small boat.
Papahānaumokuākea Marine Debris Project diver Kristen Kelly cuts a large derelict fishing net off the reef as NOAA divers Ari Halperin and William Reich haul it into the small boat at Hōlanikū (Kure Atoll). Image: NOAA Fisheries/James Morioka

Marine debris team sitting on large piles of marine debris on the ship.
The team takes a well-earned rest after removing close to 124,000 pounds of marine debris. Image: NOAA Fisheries/James Morioka

Scientists and divers from NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and Papahānaumokuākea Marine Debris Project returned to Honolulu on September 22, 2021, from a 30-day mission. The team removed marine debris from the shallow reefs and shorelines of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. These remote islands and atolls are centered among Pacific currents that carry lost and abandoned fishing nets and gear from all over the Pacific Ocean. The debris entangles wildlife and damages corals. Even during this mission, the team disentangled a 5-year-old female Hawaiian monk seal from derelict fishing rope.

The team of 16 divers expected to remove more than 110,000 pounds of derelict fishing nets, plastics, and other marine debris. Over only 18 days, they collected even more—nearly 124,000 pounds of debris.

Read the story HERE.