Marine Debris Action Coordination Team

Chair Eben Schwartz, California Coastal Commission

Vice-Chair Nir Barnea, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration


WCGA Action Plan

Action 1.4: Establish baseline estimates of marine debris and derelict gear off the West Coast and set reduction goals. Support state and federal policies for achieving marine debris reduction goals, including debris prevention through expanded recycling, improved trash maintenance, public education, and enforcement of litter laws.

Marine Debris Action Coordination Team Work Plan

Marine debris

  • Created the West Coast Marine Debris database ( This database incorporates the derelict fishing gear  and beah cleanup data and provides critical information to establish baseline estimates of marine debris (October 2013). 
  • Convened three workshops with subject experts from the West Coast region on topics including; derelict fishing gear (March, 2010), land-based debris (February, 2011), and the creation of a marine debris alliance (October, 2011).  

  • Generated an inventory of derelict fishing gear survey and removal activities and developed preliminary guidelines for a derelict fishing gear database. 


The Marine Debris ACT (MD ACT) came together for the first time in November 2008. They acknowledged that while there were many activities currently underway in Washington, Oregon, and California addressing marine debris, there was little effort to coordinate these projects. It was clear that the West Coast lacked a comprehensive approach to addressing marine debris. Additionally, there were no comprehensive efforts to account for marine debris across the region; to evaluate existing projects; to share best practices or lessons learned; or educate partners both within the three states or neighboring states about promising marine debris programs.

Marine Debris Action Coordination Team

The Marine Debris ACT brings together stakeholders and experts representing state, federal, regional, tribal, and not-for-profit organizations that have experience with derelict fishing gear and land-based debris, including recovery and cleanup, policy analysis and planning, funding, research, and much more. The MD ACT is tasked to create a framework to identify, assess, prevent and reduce marine debris, leveraging existing resources and expertise within the three states. In addition, the MD ACT is currently working to establish a West Coast Marine Debris Alliance to oversee the execution of the strategy.