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Working Toward a Debris-Free North Carolina

FEB. 23, 2018 — Several groups in North Carolina are working to reduce marine debris throughout the state’s coastal zone by developing a strategic plan and removing legacy debris.

Barge with crane operating on water.
Barge removes submerged aquaculture debris from coastal wetlands off of Harkers Island, North Carolina. Image credit: North Carolina Coastal Federation.

Sarah Latshaw, Southeast Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program, traveled to Beaufort, North Carolina to participate in some of the amazing work partners are doing to achieve their vision of a debris-free North Carolina.    

The North Carolina Coastal Federation, in partnership with the North Carolina Sea Grant, North Carolina Coastal Reserve, and North Carolina Marine Debris Symposium hosted a Debris Free North Carolina Collaborative Workshop. The workshop brought together representatives from local, state, and federal governments; industry; nonprofit organizations; academic institutions; and members of the public. Participants reviewed the draft of The State of Marine Debris in North Carolina: An Assessment of Prevention and Removal Efforts, which helped guide strategic planning conversations that will be incorporated into a future marine debris reduction plan.

Following the workshop, Sarah traveled to Harkers Island, North Carolina, where the North Carolina Coastal Federation in collaboration with Duke University Marine Lab and the NOAA Fisheries Beaufort Lab, are restoring habitat and monitoring the recovery of a former abandoned shellfish aquaculture site off of Harkers Island, North Carolina. To date, over 500,000 lbs. of derelict aquaculture gear have been removed from the site.  Additionally, the North Carolina Coastal Federation is also working with aquaculture growers to prevent future debris by developing Best Management Practices.  

For more information, contact Sarah.Latshaw@noaa.gov.

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Pile of formerly submerged sandbags on a beach.
Pile of formerly submerged sandbags that were removed from an abandoned shellfish aquaculture site off of Harkers Island, North Carolina. Image credit: North Carolina Coastal Federation.