Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2011


As a consequence of intense commercial fishing activities across the world’s oceans, lost fishing gear commonly act as a secondary stressor to marine life in coastal and oceanic waters. In South Florida, coral reefs and associated benthic habitats of Biscayne National Park (BNP) are littered with derelict traps and associated debris that compromise reef resources. To address these threats, the BNP Damage Recovery Program (DRP) implemented a Derelict Trap and Debris Removal Program (DTDRP) in 2007, with the goal of decreasing the amount of marine debris that threatens submerged resources. From 2007 to 2011, contractors have been working with DRP personnel to remove debris from coral reef habitat areas. A five-year analysis of the data collected in these efforts indicated a significant difference in the amount of debris collected by year, and a significant difference in the quantity collected by two different contractors. A spatial analysis showed that 135km2 out of 332km2 area surveyed represent areas of potentially high debris deposition, with most of these areas characterized as shallow seagrass habitats. Using this model, 13.21km2 out of 332km2 were identified as potential areas of high-debris collection on hard-bottom habitat types. Lastly, a public announcement video was developed to educate the public and increase awareness about this important project and the effects of marine debris on natural and cultural resources.


Department: MBF

MPS Track: TME

Location: Biscayne National Park (Homestead, FL)

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