NH Marine Debris to Energy Project

A New Hampshire-based project to study marine debris at sea and on the shore, incorporating waste-to-energy and recycling as part of cleanup efforts.

New Derelict Gear Bin at Portsmouth Commercial Fish Pier with Project PartnersThe Marine Debris to Energy Project (MDEP) is an effort to study and cleanup marine debris from shorelines and coastal waters off New Hampshire. This is done through involving fishermen in disposal of derelict gear, conducting beach cleanups, surveying areas in the Gulf of Maine for underwater and floating debris, and integrating project data into this web site.

How You Can Help:

  • Recycle your fishing line! Contact Blue Ocean Society at info (at) blueoceansociety.org for drop-off locations
  • Dispose of derelict fishing gear in the following ports:
    • Portsmouth Fish Pier
    • Rye Commercial Fish Pier
    • Yankee Fishermen's Co-op in Seabrook
    • Newington (Little Bay Lobster Company)
  • Join a Blue Ocean Society beach cleanup! Click here for info
  • Report litter you see!
  • Teachers: Check out our interactive web site, and download lesson plans!

Resources for the Public, Resource Managers and Educators:

  • Search our GIS maps for litter spotted at sea.

Thanks to Our Project Funders and Partners:

NOAA Marine Debris Program

Waste Management

Wheelabrator Technologies

Yankee Fishermen's Co-op

NH Port Authority

Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen's Association

Main Project Activities


  • Researchers will make an initial assessment of the volume of underwater marine debris using sonar for the first time for this purpose in New Hampshire.
  • Commercial and recreational fishermen will become actively involved in removing DFG at sea and collecting it in the Waste Management dumpster at theYankee Fisherman's Co-op.
  • Fishermen will have access to bins where they can discard their fishing line for recycling.
  • Anyone collecting marine debris will be able to report it online via an easy Web interface.
  • Cleanups along the New Hampshire coastline will expand, involving more volunteers and creating more aesthetically-pleasing, healthier and safer beaches.
  • Members of the public, schools, and scientific researchers will have access to interactive marine-debris data and GIS maps.
  • Teachers and their students across the world will have access to marine-debris data to use in their lessons, and local schools will be able to work directly with project investigators and partners in viewing data, participating in cleanups and contributing to the database.
  • Project staff and others around the world can use the data and protocols developed in this project to target further pollution-prevention and outreach efforts.
  • The quantities of debris in the ocean and on the shore, potentially harmful to wildlife, people, vessels, and the economy, will diminish.

Current MDEP News!
Earth Day Beach Cleanups!
The huge "haul" at Peirce Island, Earth Day 2006. Will we find as much this year?Want to celebrate Earth Day and help marine life at the same
Microplastics sampling is gearing up for May start date!
NH Sea Grant and Blue Ocean are gearing up to start microplastics sampling again for 2015.  Because the winter has been so drawn out,
Plastic, Plastic and More Plastic in Provincetown
Race Point Beach on a gray, foggy dayMicroplastics, bottle caps and straws by the hundreds... this is what we encountered when we arrived at
We just pulled off the first EVER underwater lost fishing gear retrieval in NH waters!
For the last several years, we have gone out to the Isles of Shoals and conducted coastal cleanups of the islands.  Often, we came back with many unfishable lobster traps that
An Unexpected Cleanup at Smuttynose Island
White Island from F/V Yesterday's StormToday, we set off from Rye Harbor at 7 AM intending to go out to White Island, one of the Isles of Sho
April Microplastics Beach Blitz is in Full Swing
Our new recruits! 2 beaches down, several more to go!Finally!! After a very long winter and some panic that the weather would not improve in

This study is funded by NH Sea Grant and through a grant from the NOAA Marine Debris Program.
Site design and hosting by the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

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