Marine Debris Removal Efforts in the Main Hawaiian Islands

Marine debris team member working hard on the eastern shore of Oʻahu.
Marine debris team member working hard on the eastern shore of Oʻahu.
Marine debris team members hauling loads of derelict fishing gear from a shoreline of Lānaʻi.
Marine debris team members hauling loads of derelict fishing gear from a shoreline of Lānaʻi.
During a response effort requested by the state of Hawaiʻi, a free diver is engulfed by a plume of plastics in Hanauma Bay.
During a response effort requested by the state of Hawaiʻi, a free diver is engulfed by a plume of plastics in Hanauma Bay.

During the pilot cleanup effort in June 2006, the CRED Marine Debris Project removed a majority of the derelict fishing gear (DFG) that had been located during the aerial survey conducted earlier that year along the coastline of Oʻahu. Of the 176 debris sites observed during this aerial survey, 169 were checked on the ground during this cleanup effort. Although ground teams could not locate some of the debris piles that had been identified during aerial surveys, many additional sites were discovered during this cleanup effort. In 16 days of operations, 216 piles of DFG, weighing more than 16 metric tons (t), were removed. Support from NOAA's Marine Debris Program and collaboration with various federal and local agencies, businesses, nongovernmental partners, and private property owners facilitated the success of this effort.

In February 2007, CRED's marine debris team completed a DFG cleanup operation on Lānaʻi. Although large amounts of debris and limited shoreline access provided logistical and physical challenges, this team, during eight field days, removed 156 individual nets that weighed ~ 19 t. The success of this effort was made possible through the use of helicopter sling loads for removal of debris from remote sites.

On October 21, 2010, the marine debris team was contacted by the Division of Aquatic Resources of the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources and NOAA's Marine Debris Program to conduct a marine debris response effort within Hanauma Bay on the southeastern shore of Oʻahu. A team of four marine debris personnel launched an inflatable Avon boat from Maunalua Bay and transited to Hanauma Bay to recover a net that possibly was entangled near the "witches brew" area. Upon its arrival, this team found only large amounts of floating plastics. A majority of the large plastics were removed; however, smaller microplastics remained. This response effort resulted in the removal of ~ 198 kg (437 lb) of debris.

For more details of CRED's cleanup efforts in the main Hawaiian Islands in 2006, refer to our publication titled 2008 Main Hawaiian Islands Derelict Fishing Gear Survey (23.4 MB PDF).