Marine debris is any human-created waste that has entered the marine environment. Most of the debris comes from land-based sources, occurring as easily as someone littering a cigarette butt or soda can. A large and disturbing amount of marine debris is comprised of plastics and other materials that resist natural degradation. Debris in our oceans kills and injures wildlife, spreads invasive species, leaches pollutants, and endangers human health. Our conservation commitment includes monitoring, collecting and reporting marine debris found in our oceans, as well as helping to keep Maui’s beaches and parks tobacco-free.
Pacific Whale Foundation researchers began their marine debris research in 2013, documenting and removing debris from the leeward waters of Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai and Molokai. In 2015, we piloted a citizen science program to enhance public involvement in the monitoring and removal of debris from our beaches and to help raise awareness. Our partners in this effort include local community groups, schools, corporate sponsors, and Volunteers on Vacation program participants.
Today, with the help of the public, we have removed and documented over 50,000 pieces of marine debris. Marine Debris Photo Catalog.
Images of marine debris found in the field
“You can participate in our Coastal Marine Debris Monitoring Program as a citizen scientist. Simply pick up your supplies (recycled grain bag and a datasheet) at Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ocean Store in Lahaina or Maalaea, or at other participating retailers, and then head out to clean up any part of Maui’s coastline, or your favorite coastline back home. Be sure to complete and return your datasheet to help contribute to our marine debris database which will be used to guide mitigation and prevention measures in Maui County”.
You can also print our data sheet HERE and use your own bag!
Our thoughts go out to all that are being impacted by COVID-19. With a team dedicated to our response to this pandemic, we are meeting regularly to ensure the continuation of programs and services that allow our mission work to continue.
Pacific Whale Foundation’s leadership team is closely monitoring updates from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization regarding COVID-19. We will continue to seek guidance from these agencies, public health officials and government agencies on an ongoing basis.
The role that our organization plays in keeping people connected for the sake of the environment is incredibly important in times like these. If we all take the proper precautions and continue to treat each other with kindness and care, we’ll get through this together.
How is PacWhale Eco-Adventures addressing COVID-19?
-Following guidance from Hawaii State and County officials, PacWhale is suspending Eco Tours and our Retail Store operations from March 20th – April 30th.
- To support our employees, we are offering paid, temporary emergency sick leave, restricting all non-essential business travel, deep cleaning work areas, offering teleworking and flexible work schedules, and continuing to communicate updates and reinforce good hygiene practices.
How is Pacific Whale Foundation addressing COVID-19?
-Spring Break Ocean Camp has been cancelled.
-Keiki Whalewatches are being cancelled for the remainder of the season.
- Our marine research and conservation programs will continue to run without disruption.