Goals of Kure's Marine Pollution Removal Program
The goal of DLNR/DOFAW marine pollution objectives is to conduct removal operations focusing on derelict nets and other entanglement harazards over 15 acres of marine intertidal shore habitat and 25 acres of coral reef areas. It is a state-funded project within a multi-agency effort to remove marine debris from Kure Atoll. By concentrating on shallow reef flats extending just inside the emergent reef, this compliments and expand NOAA’s marine debris removal efforts on Kure Atoll. Swim surveys are conducted as opportunistic and periodic rather than consistent weekly or monthly surveys.
Every Season, 5,000 Pounds of Marine Pollution is Removed
Disentanglement Does Not Guarantee Survival
And yet every disentanglement is a significant contribution to their survivorship. A number of entanglements involve impediment to feeding or movement such as a hagfish trap or a line wrapped around the muzzle of a seal.
Seabird Bolus Filled with Marine Pollution
Throwing up pellets, known as boluses, are part of the digestive process to rid themselves of natural, yet indigestible products, such as fish bones and squid beaks. Plastics--microplastics, lighters, toothbrushes, children's toys--however, have become a large portion of the indigestible products that are regurgitated. High-quality boluses--that is, boluses that are in-tact pellets--is collected to be part of our education partnerships with Oikonos that works to bring marine pollution education into the classroom. More info here
Background of Marine Pollution Removal and Protection
Since the early 1970’s several government agencies have developed programs to address persistent marine debris, but it wasn’t until the late 1980’s that the US federal government recognized the need to coordinate efforts to address the problem more holistically.
1987: Formation of Interagency Task Force on Persistent Marine Debris
The White House Domestic Policy Council formed an “Interagency Task Force on Persistent Marine Debris” to develop a report exemplifying the need for research, reduction measures, and alternative actions to address marine debris pollution. During that first year, the Marine Plastics Pollution Research and Control Act (MPPRCA) was passed to amend the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) to specifically implement the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex V. Regulations for the prevention of plastic discharge from ships are covered under MARPOL Annex V.
1996: Program created to address marine debris in NWHI
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) took the lead on an extensive multiagency program that removed 492 metric tons of derelict fishing gear during the period of 1996 to 2005 (Friedlander et al., 2005). Recognition of the magnitude of the problem of plastic pollution was also demonstrated in the authorization of several government agencies by the MPPRCA to engage volunteer groups to help monitor, report, and clean up ocean and shoreline plastic pollution.
2004-2006: Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee (IMDCC) was re-established.
The IMDCC was re-established in response to the mounting problem of marine debris. The objective of the IMDCC is to “coordinate a comprehensive program of marine debris research, prevention, reduction and removal activities among federal agencies, in cooperation and coordination with non-governmental organizations, industries, universities, research institutions, states, tribal governments, and other nations, as appropriate” (IMDCC Final Report July 2008). In 2006, the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act of 2006 was formalized.
2008: DLNR/DOFAW Develop Marine Debris Removal Protocols
These protocols were developed to complement and expand NOAA’s marine debris removal efforts on Kure Atoll and utilize a small seasonal workforce which included volunteer personnel. Between 2002-2012, there were over 50,000 pounds of marine debris removed from Kure.