Since 2001, the Benthic Resources Group at the SWFSC has been using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to conduct visual surveys of benthic marine fishes and invertebrates. During these surveys, we have also identified numerous instances of marine debris throughout central and southern California.
Marine debris comes in a variety of forms, from discarded soda bottles to derelict fishing gear. In addition to being unsightly, marine debris can have negative impacts on marine habitats and sea life. For this reason, the documentation and removal of marine debris has become a priority for groups like NOAA's Marine Debris Program.
Photos and descriptions of these sightings in your browser are available here using Google Earth (free browser plug-in required). Click points on the map to view images of marine debris. Download the entire dataset (KMZ file below) for viewing in Google Earth. Click individual Tours to conduct virtual ‘fly-bys’ at a few selected survey locations in Southern California.
This work compliments ongoing work to document marine debris in deepwater benthic habitats throughout CA by the SWFSC's Habitat Ecology Team in Santa Cruz, CA. Check out the short video that documents their research here.