The Honolulu Strategy: A Global Framework for Prevention and Management of Marine Debris

The Honolulu Strategy is one of the key outcomes of the Fifth International Marine Debris Conference (5IMDC) held in Honolulu, Hawaii, 20-25 March 2011.

It is a framework for a comprehensive and global effort to reduce the ecological, human health, and economic impacts of marine debris globally.

The Honolulu Strategy is a framework document. It does not supplant or supersede activities of national authorities, municipalities, industry, international organizations, or other stakeholders; rather, it provides a focal point for improved collaboration and coordiation among the multitude of stakeholders across the globe concerned with marine debris. Successful implementation of it will require participation and support on multiple levels—global, regional, national, and local—involving the full spectrum of civil society, government and intergovernmental organizations, and the private sector.

This results-oriented framework consists of three goals and associated strategies (see table below) to reduce the amount and impact of marine debris from land-based and sea-based sources and marine debris accumulations. The Fifth International Marine Debris Conference, in March 2011, catalyzed development of the Honolulu Strategy. Input from conference participants and stakeholders around the world was solicited and incorporated into development of the Honolulu Strategy.

Using the Honolulu Strategy

The Marine Litter Network was developed for the global marine debris community to monitor progress on the implementation of the Honolulu Strategy across multiple programs and projects and to share information, lessons learned and tools.

The Honolulu Strategy can serve as a:

  • Planning tool for developing or refining marine debris programs and projects
  • Common frame of reference for collaboration and sharing best practices and lessons learned

For example, the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is using theHonolulu Strategy to align its programs and measure outcomes through local and state-level actions, such as the Hawaii Marine Debris Action Plan.

Reduced amount and impact of land-based sources of marine debris introduced into the sea

Land-based sources of marine debris result from inadequate solid waste management, inappropriate human behavior, and unsustainable production and consumption. Increased development, urbanization, and consumerism can lead to increases in the use of disposable and non-degradable products and packaging, which result in increased generation of solid waste. In addition, natural events such as tsunamis, storms, and hurricanes can transport significant quantities of marine debris from coastal areas.

Strategy A. Conduct education and outreach on marine debris impacts and the need for improved solid waste management
Strategy A2. Employ market-based instruments to support solid waste management, in particular waste minimization
Strategy A3. Employ infrastructure and implement best practices for improving stormwater management and reducing discharge of solid waste into waterways
Strategy A4. Develop, strengthen, and enact legislation and policies to support solid waste minimization and management
Strategy A5. Improve the regulatory framework regarding stormwater, sewage systems, and debris in tributary waterways
Strategy A6. Build capacity to monitor and enforce compliance with regulations and permit conditions regarding litter, dumping, solid waste management, stormwater, and surface runoff
Strategy A7. Conduct regular cleanup efforts on coastal lands, in watersheds, and in waterways—especially at hot spots of marine debris accumulation

Reduced amount and impact of sea-based sources of marine debris, including solid waste; lost cargo; abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG); and abandoned vessels, introduced into the sea

Cargo, solid waste, gear, and other types of marine debris are accidentally or intentionally introduced from merchant shipping vessels, public vessels, private vessels, offshore oil and gas platforms and drilling rigs, and aquaculture installations (NOAA 2008).  Abandoned and derelict vessels are also a form of marine debris.

Strategy B1. Conduct ocean-user education and outreach on marine debris impacts, prevention, and management
Strategy B2. Develop and strengthen implementation of waste minimization and proper waste storage at sea, and of disposal of port reception facilities, in order to minimize incidents of ocean dumping
Strategy B3. Develop and strengthen implementation of industry best management practices (BMP) designed to minimize abandonment of vessels and accidental loss of cargo, solid waste, and gear at sea.
Strategy B4. Develop and promote use of fishing gear modifications or alternative technologies to reduce the lost of fishing gear and/or its impacts as ALDFG
Strategy B5. Develop and strengthen implementation of legislation and policies to prevent and manage marine debris from at-sea sources, and implement requirements of MARPOL Annex V and other relevant international instruments and agreements
Strategy B6. Build capacity to monitor and enforce (1) national and local legislation, and (2) compliance with requirements of MARPOL Annex V and other relevant international instruments and agreements

Reduced amount and impact of accumulated marine debris on shorelines, in benthic habitats, and in pelagic waters

Wind and currents concentrate marine debris on shorelines, in benthic habitats, and in pelagic waters of the world’s oceans.  Land-based and at-sea sources of marine debris introduced into the ocean disperse and accumulate in shoreline, benthic, and pelagic areas of the coastal and marine environments.

Strategy C1. Conduct education and outreach on marine debris impacts and removal
Strategy C2. Develop and promote use of technologies and methods to effectively locate and remove marine debris accumulations
Strategy C3. Build capacity to co-manage marine debris removal response
Strategy C4. Develop or strengthen implementation of incentives for removal of ALDFG and other large accumulations of marine debris encountered at sea
Strategy C5. Establish appropriate regional, national, and local mechanisms to facilitate removal of marine debris
Strategy C6. Remove marine debris from shorelines, benthic habitats, and pelagic water