Marine debris project in Western Gulf continues

A team effort of the NOAA Marine Debris Program and Island Trails Network at Kodiak to remove marine debris from 60 miles of shoreline on Shuyak Island in the Western Gulf is slated to wrap up in September of 2017.

The project, which calls for removal of some 40,000 pounds of marine debris, is in the spotlight in the December issue of the NOAA Marine Debris newsletter.

Island Trails Network, in Kodiak, is coordinating the effort to get 100 volunteers and trained crew to the remote island in the Kodiak Archipelago, some 250 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Using sea kayaks to deploy volunteers allows access to these difficult locations, NOAA officials said. Qualified volunteers from around the world, working in two-week shifts over an eight-week period, paddle to these target areas and remove marine debris, put it into super-sacks and pile the sacks up at more accessible locations. A large vessel will later transport the debris back to Kodiak for sorting and transport for disposal.

After the field season, the crew, additional community volunteers, and student groups will analyze and sort the removed debris to determine its composition and quantity. That information is to be documented in photographs, videos, and displays for use in local, statewide and national education and outreach programs on the impact of marine debris.