top of page

Debris in the Gulf of Maine ranges from microplastics to abandoned and derelict vessels and is generally classified into two source categories: ocean-based and land-based. Ocean-based debris are those items that may be dumped, swept, or blown from vessels or stationary platforms at sea, as well as abandoned, lost, or derelict fishing gear. Land-based debris includes debris from intentional or unintentional littering and dumping in rivers and streams, as well as storm water discharges, and waste management practices. 


The Gulf of Maine Marine Debris Action Plan establishes a comprehensive framework for strategic action to ensure the Gulf of Maine and its coasts, people, and wildlife are free from the impacts of marine debris. This Action Plan encompasses work that will be undertaken in the next five years (2019 - 2024). The Gulf of Maine Marine Debris Action Plan is one of several being implemented in coastal regions across the country. Due to the complexity of marine debris issues, many stakeholders can play a role in the Action Plan’s implementation, including private citizens, federal, state, and local governments, private businesses and industry, and nongovernmental and academic organizations. To participate and engage directly  in these efforts, email the NOAA MDP Northeast Regional Coordinator, Demi Fox, at


To reduce the impacts of marine debris in the Gulf of Maine by increasing understanding of the problem, taking preventative actions, and collaborating with diverse partners on solutions. 


  • The Gulf of Maine, its coasts, people, and wildlife free from the impacts of marine debris. 

  • Identify initiatives related to reducing single-use plastic products in public institutions 

  • Engage businesses who have adopted sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics to help generate case studies for integration into the Northeast 

  •  Create or tailor a regional guide of actions that institutions can initiate related to single-use plastic products and a cost/benefit analysis of those actions

  • Design shoreline cleanups that facilitate industry participation

  • Develop disposal strategies and educational materials for angling


Get students out of the classroom and up close to science they can touch

bottom of page