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Hawaii implements nation's first marine debris action plan

January 13, 2010 |  1:44 pm

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released news of a sweeping plan to actively assess and remove man-made marine debris from coastal waters and coral reefs on and near the Hawaiian islands.

This is the first such plan implemented in the nation, and hopefully not the last. Marine debris is not only a blight undersea and along shorelines, it is also hazardous to all forms of sea life. Thousands of pounds of marine debris wash ashore each year.

"This rollout demonstrates NOAA’s continued commitment to working with partners from across the state of Hawaii on the issue of marine debris,” David M. Kennedy, acting assistant administrator for NOAA’s National Ocean Service, said in a news release. “We are proud to take part in the development of the nation’s first marine debris action plan in Hawaii.”

Numerous agencies have been working with NOAA's Marine Debris program to develop the Hawaii Marine Debris Action Plan. Building on ongoing and previous marine debris community efforts, the plan establishes a framework for activities and projects across the state in an effort to, in part, reduce fishing gear disposal at sea, land-based debris in waterways and the current backlog of marine debris both on land and in the ocean.

Various strategies and activities fall under each of these goal areas, many of them already underway by Hawaii’s marine debris partners. These include emergency response and cleanup efforts as well as prevention and outreach campaigns.

“For too long marine debris has marred the natural beauty of our ocean and threatened our marine ecosystem,” Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Inouye said.“I am proud that Hawaii is taking the lead in finding a solution to this global problem.”

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Thousands of pounds of derelict nets wash ashore and snag on reefs across the Hawaiian archipelago each year. Credit: NOAA MDP

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