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 2009:
The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) had another busy year in 2009 and saw a lot of growth. To start, our program expanded by incorporating Alaska into its regional presence. This brought our regional focus to a total of five regions— East Coast, West Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Islands, and now Alaska (today we have a total of ten)!
This was also the year that the Florida Crab Trap Assessment and Alaska Dungeness Crab Pot Assessment were initiated. Efforts like this help us to learn more about the issue of marine debris so that we can better address it. For instance, the Alaska assessment estimated the abundance and impact of the derelict crab pots around Juneau, AK, telling us the extent of the crab pot problem in this area. You can’t address a problem if you don’t really know what it is!
Unfortunately, we also saw another natural disaster in 2009. On September 29, there was an earthquake and subsequent tsunami in American Samoa which resulted in lives lost and a substantial amount of damage. The MDP responded to the marine debris generated by this disaster by assisting in debris surveys and outreach.
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.