Ocean Trash

A diver cares for the reef by cleaning up discarded fishing gear and garbage.

Resolve to Protect the Ocean

A diver cares for the reef by cleaning up discarded fishing gear and garbage. Credit: Amos Nachoum 2005/Marine Photobank Happy New Year! We’ve officially hit mid-January, but there is still plenty of time to...
A beach clean-up in Malaysia brings young people together to care for their coastline.

Helping Kids Help the Ocean

A beach clean-up in Malaysia brings young people together to care for their coastline. Credit: Liew Shan Sern/Marine Photobank An 11-year-old in Texas is saddened by the oil spill and begins searching for something...

Whale Rescue

When a critically endangered North Atlantic right whale becomes entangled in fishing gear, members of a response team from the Atlantic Large Whale Disentanglement Network spring into action. In the past 25 years, dozens...
Plastic bottles and other marine debris cover a rocky beach in Curacao.

Ocean Trash: Marine Debris From Shore to Sea

While conducting field work in Curaçao in 2011, Smithsonian researchers encountered trash along remote beaches and deep in the water column. This video gives a brief glimpse of some of the marine debris they...

Trash on the Beach and in the Ocean

While conducting field work in Curaçao in 2011, Smithsonian researchers encountered trash along remote beaches and deep in the water column. This video gives a brief glimpse of some of the marine debris they...
Sea bass flock to a tropical coral reef in the Red Sea.

5 Simple Things You Can Do for the Ocean

Sea bass flock to a tropical coral reef in the Red Sea. Credit: Michael Lang/Smithsonian Institution More than ever, the fate of the ocean is in our hands. To be good stewards and leave...
A student uses a marker to decorate a reusable lunch bag with ocean creatures

Teaching Your Students About Marine Debris: a Classroom Activity

A student decorates a reusable bag as part of "Design Your Own Bag," a marine debris activity hosted by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Credit: Smithsonian Institution Have you ever gone to...
The currents of the North Pacific gyre collect trash—mostly bits of microscopic plastic—into what are known as "garbage patches."

Ocean Trash Plaguing Our Sea

Garbage patches in the ocean aren't piled-up islands of trash and debris, as is the common perception. But that doesn't mean the tiny, swirling plastic bits are nothing to worry about. The currents of...

Laysan Albatrosses’ Plastic Problem

Laysan albatrosses ( Phoebastria immutabilis ) are incredible birds. They have a wingspan of more than 6 feet, soaring vast distances without flapping their wings. They can go years without even touching land ,...
Henry the Fish is made completely out of colorful plastic that washed up on Oregon beaches.

Washed Ashore: From Beach Trash to Ocean Art

From a distance, Henry the Fish looks like a typical quirky and colorful sculpture you'd find in a small beach town. But when you look up close, Henry begins to change. His bright yellow...

The “Plastisphere:" A new marine ecosystem

Tiny bits and pieces of plastic can be found throughout the ocean, like these collected from the open ocean by net. Credit: Courtesy of Erik Zettler Any floating object in the ocean tends to...

Recycled Fishing Gear Converted into Energy

Instead of adding castaway fishing nets to already crowded landfills, Hawaii’s multi-partner marine debris group has developed a method of converting marine debris into usable electricity. The Nets-to-Energy Program is reducing the effects of...
Plastic bottles and other marine debris cover a rocky beach in Curacao.

Fighting Plastic From Every Angle

A still from a video documenting a remote beach in Curaçao that's been blanketed in plastic garbage. Credit: Cristina Castillo / Smithsonian Institution Ocean plastic comes in all shapes and sizes, from the flip-flops...
Tiny jellies in a petri dish.

Fishing for Plastic: Science in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

By now, you have probably heard of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch . The name conjures the image of a floating island made of familiar plastic trash such as soda bottles and plastic bags,...

The Making of a Marlin

Watch how a group of 9 staff members and 487 volunteers from Washed Ashore , a non-profit in Bandon, Oregon, made "Flash" the marlin―an enormous sculpture that weighs in at 850 pounds. The work...

How Laws Around the World Help Improve Ocean Health

Solving environmental problems often starts with small groups of people working to make things better. But to sustain and scale up environmental successes often requires government support. The Ocean Portal has joined with Earthjustice...
Cleaning up abandoned fishing nets

Upcycled Ocean Plastic

The Possibilities Are Endless For Reuse of Plastic Ocean Trash Here, workers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) remove discarded fishing nets from Midway Atoll in the Pacific. Though Norton Point doesn’t...

Turning Nets Into Carpet

There are many plastic nets floating in the world's ocean. Some of them were lost at sea by fishers; others were discarded overboard when they ripped or became tangled. Regardless, once they are adrift,...