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Capitol Hill Ocean Week 14 June 2006 Marine Debris in Hawaii Mary J. Donohue, Ph.D. University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program Outline The Problem Impacts Mitigation Science Challenges Recommendations Marine Debris Movement

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marine debris in hawaii

Capitol Hill Ocean Week

14 June 2006

Marine Debris in Hawaii

Mary J. Donohue, Ph.D.

University of Hawaii Sea Grant College

  • The Problem
  • Impacts
  • Mitigation
  • Science
  • Challenges
  • Recommendations

Marine Debris Movement

  • Oceanic currents & atmospheric winds = North Pacific Subtropical Gyre
  • Subtropical Convergence Zone

(Kubota 1994, Ingraham and Ebbesmeyer 2001, Donohue et al. 2001, Timmers et al. 2005)

marine debris impacts
Marine Debris Impacts
  • Degraded Aesthetics
  • Navigational Hazard / Vessel Damage
  • Wildlife Ingestion
  • Wildlife Entanglement / Ghost Fishing
  • Habitat Damage
  • Alien Species Vector

Degraded Aesthetic Value

Images courtesy NOAA Fisheries


Navigational Hazard / Vessel Damage

Courtesy Environment Canada

Courtesy WESPAC

Courtesy WESPAC


Wildlife Ingestion

Harmful effects:

  • Intestinal blockage
  • Starvation
  • Death
  • Decreased food consumption
  • Loss of nutrition
  • Internal injury

Courtesy NOAA Fisheries Service

Courtesy UH Sea Grant

wildlife entanglement
Wildlife Entanglement

Courtesy NOAA Fisheries Service


Ghost Fishing

  • Commercial fish & shellfish stocks = up to 30% of landings(Laist 1996)
  • 50% of CA derelict lobster traps actively fishing (Gilardi, Pers. Comm.)
  • Ghost catch of octopus in Kyushu, Japan = commercial landing (200 - 500K animals) (Matsuoka, Pers. Comm.)

Courtesy NOAA Fisheries Service


Habitat Damage

Courtesy NOAA Fisheries Service

diadumene lineata
Diadumene lineata

Introduction of Alien Species


sea anemone found on net at Pearl & Hermes Atoll, 2000

(Zabin et al. 2004, Godwin, Pers. Comm.)

Courtesy NOAA Fisheries Service

selected hawaii marine debris projects
Selected Hawaii Marine Debris Projects
  • Debris removal Waiohinu - Ka Lae Coast, Hawaii Island*
  • Debris removal - main Hawaiian Islands*
  • Honolulu port reception & recycling program*
  • Get the Drift and Bag It Beach Cleanup** (TOC)
  • Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Multi-Agency Marine Debris Removal*

*Funded by NOAA ORR Marine Debris Program

**The Ocean Conservancy annual beach cleanup


Northwestern Hawaiian IslandsMulti-Agency Marine Debris Cleanup


Courtesy NOAA Fisheries Service


Tow Survey

Net Removal

Net Analysis


Net Haul

Courtesy NOAA Fisheries Service


Kure Atoll

Survey tracks and debris recovery locations

Courtesy National Ocean Service

debris recycling
Debris Recycling

*100 tons of derelict fishing net =

552 barrels of oil

323,019 KwH

43 homes/year

US $50,000

Schnitzer Steel Hawaii Corporation (formerly Hawaii Metals Recycling), City & County of Honolulu, Covanta Energy; *Wigg, Pers. Comm.

Courtesy NOAA Fisheries Service


NWHI Fishing Net Marine Debris,1998-2002

N = 3979

EPO Tuna FADs?

(Boland and Donohue 2005, Donohue et al. 2001, Timmers and Donohue 2000, Donohue 2005)


Debris Analysis

Twisted Knotted

Twisted Knotless

Braided Knotted

Braided Knotless

Double Stranded

Multi-panel Trawl

Courtesy NOAA Fisheries Service


Debris Analysis – Monofilament Gill Net

80 – 140 mm Mesh Size



N = 198

(Timmers and Donohue 2000)


Oceanography/Remote Sensing

(Donohue and Foley, in review)


Monk Seal Entanglements 1982-2004

EL Niño

(Henderson 2001, Donohue and Foley, in review)

biweekly marine debris deposition and el ni o at french frigate shoals 1990 2006
Biweekly marine debris deposition and El Niño at French Frigate Shoals, 1990-2006



*P < 0.05

(Morishige et al., Pers. Comm.)

debris accumulation
Debris Accumulation

(Boland and Donohue, 2003)

  • Polluters transfer costs
  • Economic and ecological costs
  • International scope
  • MARPOL Annex V
  • Enforcement
  • Expand international / industry participation
  • Source identification
  • Economic analyses of impacts
  • Scientific studies of impacts
  • Maintain removal efforts
  • Expand recycling
  • Expand outreach / education
thank you
Thank you

For additional information:

UH Sea Grant:

Mary J. Donohue:

northwestern hawaiian islands multi agency marine debris cleanup partners
Northwestern Hawaiian IslandsMulti-Agency Marine Debris Cleanup Partners

National Marine Fisheries Service

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve

Pacific Sea Grant College Programs

Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program

US Coast Guard

US Fish & Wildlife Service

Hawaii Metals Recycling/ Schnitzer Steel Hawaii Corporation

Horizon Waste Services, Inc.

City & County of Honolulu

US Navy

Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council

US State Department

Natural Resources Consultants, Inc.

Hawaii State DLNRHawaii Audubon Society

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine SanctuaryHawaii Ocean Safety TeamThe Ocean ConservancyOcean Futures SocietyHawaii State DBEDTCovanta Energy

Any omissions unintended


Boland, R. and M.J. Donohue. 2003. Marine debris accumulation in the aquatic habitat of the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, Monachus schauinslandi: an impediment to species recovery? Marine Pollution Bulletin 46(11):1385-1394.

Donohue, M.J., 2005. Eastern Pacific source of Northwestern Hawaiian Islands marine debris supported by errant fish aggregating device. Marine Pollution Bulletin 50(6):886-888, doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2005.05.003.

Donohue, M.J., 2003. How multi-agency partnerships can address large-scale pollution problems: a Hawaii case study. Marine Pollution Bulletin 46(6):700-702. Invited manuscript.

Donohue, M.J., R. Boland, C.M. Sramek, and G.A. Antonelis. 2001. Derelict fishing gear in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands: diving surveys and debris removal at two atolls confirms threat to coral reef ecosystems. Marine Pollution Bulletin 42(12):1301-1312.

Donohue, M.J. and D. Foley. In review. Remote sensing links Hawaiian monk seal conservation, pollution and El Niño. Marine Mammal Science.

Gilardi, K. Personal Communication.

Godwin, S. Personal Communication.

Henderson, J.R. 2001. A pre- and post-MARPOL Annex V summary of Hawaiian monk seal entanglements and marine debris accumulation in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands 1982-1988. Marine Pollution Bulletin 42(7):584-589.


Ingraham, W.J. Jr. and Ebbesmeyer, C.C. 2001. Surface current concentration of floating marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean: 12-year OSCURS model experiments. In Proceedings of the Internationl Conference on Derelict Fishing Gear and the Ocean Environment, 2001. Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Publication.

Kubota, M. 1994. A mechanism for the accumulation of floating marine debris north of Hawaii. Journal of Physical Oceanography 24, 1059-1064.

Laist, D.W. 1997. Impacts of marine debris: entanglement of marine life in marine debris including a comprehensive list of species with entanglement and ingestion records. In Marine Debris Sources, Impacts, and Solutions, eds. J.M. Coe and D.B. Rogers. Springer-Verlag, New York, Inc. pp.99-139.

Matsuoka, Tatsuro. Personal Communication.

Morishige, C. Personal Communication.

Timmers, M.A., C.A. Kistner and M.J. Donohue. 2005. Marine debris of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands: ghost net identification. University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program publication. UNIHI-SEAGRANT-AR-05-01.


Timmers, M and M. Donohue, 2003. Identifying putative fisheries from derelict fishing gear recovered in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Pacific Congress on Marine Science and Technology International, Sixth Regional Symposium PACON 2003: Ocean Capital Year. Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Jun. 29 – Jul. 2, 2003

Wigg, H. Personal Communication.

Zabin, C.J., J.T. Carlton and L.S. Godwin, 2003. First report of the Asian sea anemone Diadumene lineata from the Hawaiian Islands. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers, Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2003, Part 2: 54-58.