NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

Ten Years of the NOAA Marine Debris Program: 2008

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The NOAA Marine Debris Program 10 year anniversary identity marker.

This year marks the ten year anniversary of the NOAA Marine Debris Program and we will be celebrating throughout the year! As part of our celebration, we will be looking back on our accomplishments over the years (check out our timeline for a review of the past decade!). Let’s take a look back to 2008:


The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) was busy in 2008! To start, although the program was established in 2006, it wasn’t until 2008 that the MDP became an official division under NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration in the National Ocean Service.

The Office of Response and Restoration webpage heading.

To learn a bit more about marine debris so as to better address it, the MDP hosted the first international marine debris research workshop on the Occurrence, Effects, and Fate of Microplastic Marine Debris in 2008. The workshop convened at the University of Washington Tacoma and resulted in the adoption of the official definition of microplastics: plastic debris that is less than or equal to 5mm in size.

A pile of microplastics.

Microplastics are a type of plastic debris that are 5mm or less in size. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

This year also marked the start of the Fishing for Energy partnership between the MDP, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Covanta, and Schnitzer Steel Industries. Fishing for Energy was created to (and still does!) provide the fishing community with cost-free options for disposing of their old or unwanted fishing gear, which is then converted into usable energy and any steel is recycled.

Of course, like all years, the MDP also focused on the ultimate solution to marine debris—prevention— through outreach and education. In 2008, we got a little help from Disney’s The Little Mermaid through a PSA campaign to encourage people to keep our ocean clean.

The Little Mermaid characters with the text "oceans are part of your world. Keep them clean."

The Little Mermaid PSA poster that was used to raise awareness about marine debris. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

Keep an eye on our blog throughout the year to learn about more of the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s accomplishments over the past decade.

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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