Tsunami debris. Note the small oblong black Japanese buoys on the right in the photo by Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Tidd, US Navy


Photo of washed up Japanese fishing float courtesy of Jeff Ingraham

Marine Debris Reporting Protocol

Debris associated with the earth quake and resulting tsunami in Japan last year, have begun washing up along the west coast (see articles under news). This represents another potential pathway for new species to invade Alaska. In response to this threat, SERC, in conjunction with Alask Fish and Game, National Marine Fisheries Service and the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program have put together the Marine Debris Reporting Protocol for invasive invertebrates associated with marine debris. We are interested in organisms associated with structure that was in the water prior to the earth quake (ie, pieces of docks, pilings, buoys, floats and associated boating and aquaculture debris) and was broken up as a result of the tsunami. It is our understanding that many of the buoys associated with aquaculture in Japan look very different from those from this part of the world. We've included some pictures of the Japanese buoys to help you tell the difference. If you do find organisms attached to debris, we hope you'll use this form to report it. Please take photographs (see Protocol), sample it (optional) and then dispose of any remaining organism(s) in the nearest dumpster and submit your form to the panel. You can find more information about species that may be associated with marine debris on this website under 'target taxa'.

Protocol (PDF)
Instructions on adding observations to the map (PDF)