NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

Heading to Dry Land: Lisianski Island

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Two Marine Debris Program staffers are participating in NOAA’s annual mission to remove derelict nets and other marine debris from sensitive coral reefs and shorelines in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. An estimated 52 tons of derelict fishing gear washes up in the Monument each year, threatening the pristine ecosystem. Follow their journey

By: Dianna Parker

Mission Log 6

We’re leaving Pearl and Hermes Atoll for the day and heading over to Lisianski Island to pick up derelict nets on the shoreline. Nets are still an entanglement hazard for the Monument’s wildlife even when they’re on land; it’s not uncommon to see a Hawaiian monk seal lounging on a large pile of them.

Lisianski Island is a tiny piece of land, so our team should be able to clean it in no time. After that, we’ll head back to Pearl and Hermes Atoll to finish up. We’ve been finding some interesting debris there — but I’ll have more on that later. In the meantime, here’s an overview of the island:

IKONOS satellite imagery of Lisianski Island.

IKONOS satellite imagery of Lisianski Island.

1. Size and shape: According to the Monument, “About 20 million years ago, geologic forces raised the tip of a huge coral bank above sea level. Today, Lisianski Island is 1.5 square kilometers (381 acres), about the size of Honolulu. Its highest point is a sand dune about 40 feet above sea level. Though the island is small, the reef area to the southeast, called Neva Shoals, is huge, covering 979 square kilometers(241,916 acres), an area nearly the size of O`ahu.”

2. Diver’s favorite fact: There are flies at Lisianski Island. A lot of them.

3. Hawaiian name: Papa‘āpoho

Author: NOAA Marine Debris Program

The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts, users, and inhabitants free from the impacts of marine debris. Our mission is to investigate and solve the problems that stem from marine debris, in order to protect and conserve our nation's marine environment, natural resources, industries, economy, and people.

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