College of Science

Department of Applied Environmental Science

Tony Perry: NOAA Marine Debris Team Supervisor

Tony Perry

Tony's story: After graduating in 2004 from ESSP (nowESTP), I joined the NOAA Corps,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I spent the next two and half years stationed in Pascagoula, Ms working on the NOAA ship Gordon Gunter. The Gunter is fisheries research vessel that conducts plankton surveys, mammal operations, pelagic trawls, and ground fish trawls. I was able to travel all of the Gulf of Mexico, East Coast, and Caribbean Sea.


In 2007, I transferred to the Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu, Hi. Currently I work with the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division and am the supervisor of the Marine Debris Team. The division is responsible for monitoring 50 US territorial islands across the Pacific, such as Wake, Marianas, Guam, and Samoa. We conduct 90 day cruises to each of these location to monitor coral, fish, algae, and invertebrates to produce 500 page monitoring reports for the local and national governments. The Marine Debris team is the leading debris team in the world and removes 50 tons of derelict fishing gear from Hawaii Islands per year. Debris is removal by being pulled by small boats on a tow boards over the reefs and freediving down to cut away the debris.

This is by far one of the most exciting and rewarding jobs I have ever done. Overall, without ESTP and the inspiration from some of the best advisors, I have no idea where I would be, but I do know I would not be having as much fun.

The debris team hauls up derelict fishing gear off the Hawaiian Islands
The debris team hauls up derelict fishing gear off the Hawaiian Islands