POSTED: 9 FEBRUARY 2006 - 4:00pm HST

Aerial surveys for marine debris

debris on beach at Queen's Pond, Poli Hale in January of 2004

Flyover of Big Island & Kauai this month
info from NOAA on 8 Febuary 2006

NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center marine debris program is pleased to announce the start of aerial surveys of the coastal zones of the Big Island and Kaua'i. These helicopter-based surveys are part of a new comprehensive marine debris effort to develop baseline information on the distribution, abundance, and estimated impacts of marine debris in the main Hawaiian Islands.

Trained personnel from NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center will be spotting and surveying the debris from a Windward Aviation, Inc. Hughes 500D helicopter. These aerial surveys will cover the majority of the coastlines of Kaua'i and Hawai'i according to scientific protocol reviewed and approved by the NOAA's Pacific Islands Regional Office and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources.

a rainbow of plastic bits washed up on Kauai beach in January of 2004

NOAA personnel will fly up to 5 hours a day from February 13-28, obtaining GPS data, photos, and other information on derelict fishing gear debris. This information will then be analyzed and used to create maps showing the distribution and abundance of all debris located so that high-priority areas can be identified for removal efforts later this year.

We hope this information will help federal, state, and local coastal managers, along with local communities, to identify and prioritize cleanup areas and target specific sites for future monitoring. Following completion of the aerial surveys and identification of marine debris "hotspots" on the Big Island and Kaua'i, we hope to work closely with state and county agencies and local businesses to remove this debris from the coastlines and nearshore coral reefs.

Please feel free to forward this announcement to those who may be interested in participating in future cleanup efforts based on the results of these surveys.


If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please contact

Seema Balwani
(808) 592-7012

Jake Asher
(808) 592-7016

Oliver Dameron
(808) 592-7017

see also:
Island Breath: Beach Litter & Ocean Pollution

Island Breath: Shoreline Definition

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