Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eight Marine Debris Projects Set for 2013
in Alaska Waters

Officials with the Alaska Marine Stewardship Foundation say the first of eight marine debris cleanup projects scheduled in 2013 are just now getting under way, with the arrival of more daylight and warmer weather.

Dave Gaudet, director of the foundation, said that the foundation is working with local communities and organizations to remove debris from beaches important to them and wildlife.  The cleanups collectively are expected to remove between 150,000 to 250,000 pounds of debris from approximately 100 miles of beach. This is only a fraction of the amount of debris that has accumulated on Alaska’s beaches and a very small fraction of the 44,500 miles of Alaska coastline, Gaudet said.

This year’s participants include Island Charters in Craig, Sitka Sound Science Center, the city and borough of Yakutat, Orca Adventure Lodge at Cape Suckling, Island Trials Network in Kodiak, Blue Fox Bay Lodge on Afognak, Nelson Lagoon Tribal Council, the Native Council of Port Heiden and the Aleut Community of St. Paul tribal government.

Some of the projects will occur in fall months after locals participate in other activities, including commercial and subsistence salmon fishing. Gaudet said that for the most part the debris comes from far away, including the 2011 Tohoku tsunami in Japan, and is not being generated by local communities.

Even with the use of volunteers, the cost of removing the debris is high, involving the use of vessels and shipment of much of the debris south to suitable disposal sites, he said.

More information on the Alaska Marine Stewardship Foundation program is at

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