The goal of DLNR/DOFAW is to conduct removal operations on Kure beaches focusing on derelict fishing nets and other entanglement hazards. With year-around field camp presence, the Kure team is able to stay vigilant conducting daily shoreline surveys during the summer and winter field seasons. Shallow nearshore reef entanglement hazards are removed as necessary to prevent wildlife entanglements. The USCG is notified when substances that could be toxic wash ashore.

Remove Marine Pollution

  • Remove marine pollution year-round. ­
  • Ensure optimum continued support of collaborating PMNM agencies.
  • Provide NOAA's Marine Debris Program with marine pollution accumulation and impact data.

Detect and Prevent

  • Remove hazardous materials washed ashore by documenting, identifying, and securing items until appropriate removal and disposal by Monument agencies or USCG can occur.
  • Investigate the sources and types of marine pollution.

Educate Future Generations

  • Develop outreach materials regarding marine pollution
  • Continue to provide albatross boluses containing plastic items, and information on marine debris.
  • Distribute boluses through Winged Ambassador Education Partnership

The National Marine Fisheries Service and Kure Atoll Biological  Research Station personnel removes an average of 5,000 lbs per season (10k per year) of entanglement hazards to maintain low accumulation of nets, lines, and other hazardous fishing gear.

Marine pollution (A.K.A. Marine debris) is ever-present in the Kure ecosystem and has disrupted the lives of many marine wildlife species. It is almost impossible to find wildlife that does not encounter marine pollution in some way. In some cases, it is ingested along with the associated toxic chemicals. In other more obvious cases, wildlife is entangled in fishing gear that has been either deliberately or accidentally discharged. 

The impact of marine pollution on ecosystems is difficult to study because it has become ubiquitous throughout marine systems since the invention of plastic in the 1950s. The volume of marine pollution that exists and the increasing rate that continues to enter the oceans makes this human impact practically irreversible. Without teamwork across multiple agencies, the tasks of monitoring and removing derelict fishing nets, lines, and other entanglement hazards would also be impossible.


Monk seals, sharks, turtles, seabirds, corals, and other marine species have been found entangled in abandoned nets and other plastic pollution such as packing straps and eel trap cones (hagfish traps).

Between 2002-2012, there were over 50,000 pounds of marine debris removed from Kure.

Background of the Marine Debris Program

  • 1970's: There were separate government plans within each agency addressing marine debris.
  • 1987: “Interagency Task Force on Persistent Marine Debris”, formed by the White House Domestic Policy Council, developed a report exemplifying the need for research, reduction measures, and alternative actions to address plastic marine
  • 1988: 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. 
  • Recognition of the size of the problem with 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.
  • 1996: a program was created by NOAA to specifically address the problem of marine debris in the NWHI.
  • 1996-2005: 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 from the Northwestern Hawaii Islands (Friedlander et al., 2005).
  • 2006: The Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee (IMDCC) was set up by the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act in response to the mounting problem of marine debris.