Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the NOAA Marine Debris Program have released a report, A Behavior Change Campaign to Reduce Plastic Shotgun Wad Debris on the North-central California Coast, that recommends reducing shotgun wads in sanctuary and adjacent waters and on beaches. The data collected on sanctuary beaches identified shotgun wads as one of the top ten most commonly found items across all six beach survey sites. NOAA partnered with hunting reserves and hunters to properly dispose of plastic shotgun wads, the component inside the shotgun shell that separates pellets from gunpowder, and/or use biodegradable shotgun wads. NOAA is focused on promoting the report and encouraging hunting refuge managers, agencies that have a mission related to preventing marine debris, NGOs, and concerned stakeholders to implement the recommendations.

This report is a direct result of data collected through a NOAA Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Program conducted on sanctuary beaches off the coast of San Francisco and Marin Counties from 2012-2018. The data inspired a pilot project to develop lasting behavior changing strategies that ensure proper disposal of shotgun wads and/or increase support for the use of biodegradable shotgun wads.

This report summarizes the issue of shotgun wad debris and the development, execution, and results of the behavior change pilot project.

Suggestions for creating or improving upon existing shotgun wad reduction behavior
change campaigns:

  • The lack of alternative biodegradable ammunition, and suggestions for procurement of alternatives in retail stores;
  • The role policy and legislation can play in incentivizing or promoting biodegradable ammunition, and;
  • Financial investment options for reducing manufacturing costs.

Interest in addressing this topic, advancing recommendations and next steps within the report, and/or the use of behavior change campaigns to address marine debris issues is encouraged.

For more information about the pilot project and this final report click here or contact Karen Reyna, NOAA GFNMS Resource Protection Coordinator and please feel free to share this report with other interested contacts and parties.