NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

Where Are All of These Derelict Nets Coming From?


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 8

Each time we pull up a huge, stinky, algae-covered tangle of fishing nets into our boat, the same thought crosses my mind: where in the world did this come from?

We know that they are used for commercial fishing activity – but whose? How long have they been tumbling through the ocean and why are so many ending up on these tiny, remote islands and atolls?  Can we trace them to their source?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer.

To get some more insight into why this issue is so complex, I spoke with Amy MacFadyen, an oceanographer and modeler with NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration, and Jim Potemra, an oceanographer at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Check it out.


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.

2 thoughts on “Where Are All of These Derelict Nets Coming From?

  1. I’ve always wondered why marine nets can’t be tagged with an ID……. ??? Aren’t there other fishing regulations that have to be followed or a fine is imposed? Why can’t lost nets be fined. I think that having to pay a fine would up the concern…..

  2. Pingback: November 11, 2014: Garbology News | Clark College - Garbology Staging

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