USA Current Threats to Cetacean Conservation and Management Measures Taken/Proposed

Marine debris is one of the most widespread pollution problems facing the global ocean today with millions of tons of debris entering the ocean annually. Marine debris can injure and kill cetaceans through entanglement in, and ingestion of, debris. In a study of marine debris ingestion it was found that 26 species of cetaceans are confirmed to ingest marine debris. A similar study, found that, in the U.S., nine species of cetaceans are confirmed to entangle in marine debris. These two types of interactions often occur with two different types of debris – entanglement normally occurs with derelict (lost or abandoned) fishing gear, while ingestion normally involves smaller consumer related debris. The NOAA Marine Debris Program leads national efforts to remove and prevent both types of debris from the marine environment. The NOAA Marine Debris Program conducts marine debris removal efforts through its Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant Program. Projects funded through this program have removed thousands of tons of consumer debris as well as thousands of nets, pots, lines, and buoys from U.S. marine and coastal waters. In addition to this effort, the NOAA Marine Debris Program and other divisions of NOAA lead annual large scale marine debris removal missions from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands where the large majority of debris is derelict fishing gear.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program works to prevent marine debris through its Prevention through Education and Outreach Grant Program. Projects funded through this program aim to educate people about marine debris and to drive behavior changes that will reduce and prevent marine debris. These projects can range from working with the restaurant industry to reduce single-use disposables to implementing an outreach campaign with fishermen and recreational crabbers to educate them on how to prevent gear loss and report lost gear. The NOAA Marine Debris Program is also part of Fishing for Energy, a public-private partnership focused on preventing derelict fishing gear by providing free gear disposal and recycling to the fishing community and providing gear recycling to derelict gear removal projects. Through this effort over 3 million tons of gear have been diverted, or recovered, from the marine environment and recycled.

Through the combination of removal and prevention, the NOAA Marine Debris Program is working towards a global ocean free from the harmful impacts of marine debris, including those of entanglement in and ingestion by cetaceans.

Date Start
Status
Active
Summary/Text

Through the combination of removal and prevention, the NOAA Marine Debris Program is working towards a global ocean free from the harmful impacts of marine debris, including those of entanglement in and ingestion by cetaceans.

Url
https://marinedebris.noaa.gov/
Country
CMP
On
CMP Sub-category
Western North Pacific Gray Whale CMP