192 Ma'alaea Road, Wailuku, HI, 96793 info@mocmarineinstitute.org Maui Sea Turtle Stranding Hotline: 808-286-2549

MARINE DEBRIS

Mālama Land & Sea
Beach & Underwater Cleanups


Marine pollution is an increasingly global problem impacting Hawaiʻi, and threatening marine life, human health, and our local economy. Join MOCMI’s team of marine scientists and educators as we work to decrease marine debris and protect Maui’s coastal and underwater environments through monthly public cleanup events.

Upcoming Cleanup Events:


Hawaiʻi Marine Debris Action Plan


Marine pollution is one of the most significant issues impacting our ocean today.  High volumes of marine pollution continues to wash up and litter Hawaii’s shoreline, posing a risk to the island’s delicate ecosystems, marine life, and community health.

Facilitated by the NOAA Marine Debris Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Hawaiʻi Marine Debris Action Plan (HI-MDAP) is a collaborative effort between government agencies, private entities, nonprofits, and academic institutions designed to reduce the ecological, health and safety, and economic impacts of marine debris by 2020.

2018 Hawaiʻi Marine Debris Action Plan

2019 Hawaiʻi Marine Debris Action Plan Research Workshop


MOC Marine Institute has committed to the below action items, 2018 – 2020:

GOAL 1: Reduce Sources of Marine Debris through Prevention

  • Use social media as a platform for outreach to the general public.
  • Continue education and outreach at schools and universities, to residents and visitors.
  • Conduct education and outreach to residents and visitors through presentations and events.
  • Work with HI-MDAP research partners to relay scientific information to the community.
  • Participate in international symposiums to highlight relevance in Hawai‘i.
  • Offer assistance to businesses and hotels to increase plastic free efforts.
  • Certify tour operators (ex. hotels) as Ocean Friendly Businesses.

GOAL 2: Reduce the Amount and Impacts of Ocean-Based Marine Debris

  • Continue education and outreach to fishers related to derelict gear and marine debris.
  • Determine best management practices in regards to coastline fishing gear and practices.

GOAL 3: Support and Sustain Marine Debris Removal

  • Identify and implement a standardized protocol for community-based removal efforts.
  • Continue to identify and prioritize cleanup sites and debris types on each island.
  • Continue engagement with NOAA marine wildlife staff regarding their priority regions.
  • Install fishing line recycling bins/containers at all harbors statewide.
  • Continue to facilitate, coordinate, and conduct regularly scheduled cleanups and net patrols.

GOAL 5: Conduct High-Quality Research to Understand Marine Debris

  • Continue to assess the impacts of marine debris on wildlife.


Lawaiʻa Pono: Fishing Line Recycling Program


Abandoned fishing line damages coral colonies and entangles sea turtles, monk seals, manta rays, and other marine animals. Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute (MOCMI) seeks to prevent pollution and decrease harmful interactions between marine life and discarded fishing line through the establishment of the Fishing Line Recycling Program.

MOCMI staff remove fishing line from a sub-adult green sea turtle. NOAA Permit: 21260

The FLRP provides an easily accessible method for fishers to take a hands-on, proactive approach to prevent pollution and reduce entanglement hazards by properly discarding their line. Fishing line recycling bins and educational signage are installed at 24 high-traffic fishing locations along Maui’s shoreline, harbors, and boat ramps, and on four sites in Hilo, Hawaiʻi Island.

Fishing line recycling bin installed at Kanaha Beach Park on Maui’s north shore.

Fishing line is routinely collected from the recycling bins, sorted of hooks and weights, measured, and recorded in our database. The line is then shipped to the Berkley Conservation Institute where it is melted down and made into fish habitat structures and other repurposed equipment.

MOCMI’s team performs bi-weekly shoreline and underwater surveys to collect and document discarded fishing line and other fishing debris. The data obtained will be used to measure the program’s success over time.

For more information or to have a bin installed in your area, email our team at info@mocmarineinstitute.org.


Net Removal Team


Any net or line left abandoned in the ocean can pose a significant threat to marine life. A ghost net is a fishing net that has been discarded or lost in the sea by fishermen and continues to trap everything in their path. Ghost nets do not only catch fish; they also often entangle and harm coral reefs, sea turtles, sharks, birds, dolphins, monk seals, and more.

Ghost nets entangle marine animals, causing injuries and restricting them from moving freely. They also can prevent sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals from rising to the surface for air.

To reduce the threat of ghost nets to Maui’s nearshore environment, MOCMI has launched a net removal team. The team responds to calls about abandoned nets along the shoreline or in nearshore waters and regularly surveys areas where nets are commonly found.

We are always looking for new volunteers to join our net removal team. For more information, email us at info@mocmarineinstitute.org.