Scientists loaded their ship to the max this month off the coast of Hawaii, but their bounty wasn’t fish or coral or any other scientific specimen. It was garbage.
The crew of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ship Oscar Elton Sette pulled 50 metric tons of marine debris out of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off the northwestern Hawaiian Islands last month, part of an ongoing mission since 1996 to clean up the shallow coral reef environment.
“What surprises us is that after many years of marine debris removal in Papahanaumokuakea and more than 700 metric tons of debris later, we are still collecting a significant amount of derelict fishing gear from the shallow coral reefs and shorelines,” Kyle Koyanagi, the chief scientist for the mission, said in a NOAA statement. “The ship was at maximum capacity and we did not have any space for more debris.”
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