In 2006, Congress authorized NOAA to address a growing global problem by signing the Marine Debris Act into law. The NOAA Marine Debris Program is the U.S. Federal government’s lead for addressing marine debris. Their mission is to investigate and prevent the adverse impacts of marine debris. The program is in its tenth year addressing this pervasive issue through research, coordination, emergency response, and removal of debris.
This month, the program released its Fiscal Year 2016 Accomplishments Report. In a highly visual, nearly infographic layout, the document features successful programs that include Gulf of Mexico partners. Projects range from citizen scientists collecting microplastics samples in Florida, an abandoned and derelict vessel removal program in Alabama, to a crab trap rodeo in Louisiana.
New to the program is a Marine Debris Research funding opportunity. It provides support to eligible organizations to conduct research directly related to marine debris through field, laboratory, and modeling experiments. The deadline to apply is December 19, 2016.
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance recognized marine debris as an important issue that aligns with all of the organization’s priority issues. The Alliance is pleased to coordinate this cross-team initiative with co-leads EPA and NOAA’s Marine Debris Program. The initiative’s goal aligns well with NOAA to, “… assess, reduce, prevent, and eliminate marine debris and aquatic trash in the Gulf of Mexico and its watershed for the benefit of habitats, wildlife and fisheries, humans, and the Gulf economy.”