NOAA funds marine debris removal projects

22 Sep 2015
As part of a pilot program with the North Carolina Coastal Federation, funded through a NOAA Marine Debris Community-based removal grant, commercial fishermen remove derelict crab pots in order to repurpose them as artificial oyster reefs. Credit: NOAA

As part of a pilot program with the North Carolina Coastal Federation, funded through a NOAA Marine Debris Community-based removal grant, commercial fishermen remove derelict crab pots in order to repurpose them as artificial oyster reefs. Credit: NOAA

NOAA has awarded nearly $1.4 million to groups across the US to remove marine debris from their communities.

This is the ninth year of this annual grant competition, and this year 13 groups received funding to remove large debris including derelict vessels, abandoned fishing gear, and other harmful marine debris from shorelines and coastal waters. Grant recipients will couple their removal efforts by working with local volunteers on prevention initiatives. The projects typically last for 24 months and create long-term ecological improvements for coastal habitats and wildlife.

One of the projects is $93,047 for the North Carolina Coastal Federation to expand a pilot project to remove derelict fishing gear from Albemarle, Currituck, Pamlico and Roanoke sounds by improving the techniques for detecting derelict fishing gear, expanding existing crab pot collection and increasing their existing partnerships with crab fishermen. Another is $170,000 for the University of California’s, Davis California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project to work with commercial Dungeness crab fishermen to recover tons of lost fishing gear from California waters. This project expands their work with commercial fishermen in California to recover lost and abandoned crab pots, and begins a gear buy-back program to lessen the source of future potential debris.

“These grants support marine debris removal efforts across the country. Each of these removal projects will raise local awareness about this important issue,” said Nancy Wallace, NOAA’s Marine Debris Program director. “These community-based projects address damage marine debris causes to coastal habitats and reduce the effect marine debris has on wildlife.”

The NOAA Marine Debris Program is now accepting applications for the 2016 round of grants and applications are due 2 November. Please click here for more information.  

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