“We live in a time when nearly every problem has a solution. We must make protecting 72% of our planet a priority. The health of our blue heart – the global ocean is vital to our own health and health of the planet. Project Kaisei and our collaborators around the world believe now is the time to protect our ocean.”

~Mary Crowley, Ocean Voyages Institute Founder and Executive Director

Every year over 300 million tons of plastic are produced, much of it for one-time use and less than 5% of the world’s plastics are recycled. National Geographic estimates that over 85 million plastic bottles are used every three minutes. In many cases, plastic waste that is not incinerated or land-filled makes its way to the oceans.


Since 2009 Ocean Voyages Institute (OVI) has been sounding the alarm about the mounting threat of ocean plastics—and finding solutions. In our eight cleanup voyages to the Pacific Gyre, mid-way between California and Hawaii, OVI had retrieved more than 700,000 pounds of plastic debris—ranging from household plastic trash to abandoned fishing nets. In 2020, OVI completed the largest open-ocean cleanup in history—recovering and upcycling, recycling and repurposing some 340,000 pounds (170 tons) of plastics. We’re now preparing to take these proven methods to scale. 

Over the last four years, OVI has developed and successfully employed satellite-tracking technologies to locate and recover some of the largest and most destructive of all plastic pollution—enormous “ghost nets,” derelict fishing gear, that drifts below the ocean’s surface, entangling ships and entrapping wildlife. In addition to our removal of ghost nets, we have removed tons of consumer debris – both that has been caught by the ghost nets and scooped up by our ships.

With a lead grant from Matson Navigation Company, OVI has launched a campaign to build and operate two custom-designed sailing vessels, enabling OVI to extend our clean-up operations beyond the summer months and focus on collecting plastics in areas of the Pacific most at risk, including Marine Protected Areas.

“OVI’s proven method for removing plastics from the ocean efficiently and sustainably is a scalable, viable global solution,” says Matson CEO and Chairman Matt Cox. “Matson is proud to support this project, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with OVI to advance its important work in the years to come.”

Pollution Generators

In terms of our general population, many people are not aware of the problems in our oceans, ranging from:

  • Proliferation of plastics
  • Overfishing and illegal fishing methods
  • Marine debris
  • Acidification
  • Temperature rise
  • Continued coastal development

Pollution Issues

The significant problem of marine debris/ocean trash manifesting in our ocean gyres is exacerbated by the following issues:

  • The plastic vortex is not visible to the general public. This creates a special problem of awareness of the depth and breadth of the issue. Scientific research, news reporting, films, pictures and personal voyages continue to evolve and now highlight this global problem.
  • Incidents in international waters were difficult to identify and prosecute. International cooperation is now beginning to generate guidelines for support of our global ocean.
  • Economics and cultural dynamics add to the diverse problems encountered by the marine debris issue. Bringing together governments, public and private sectors and industry specialists is establishing a united front for developing solutions.

“The oceans are the blue heart of our planet.
For a healthy earth we must give our ocean ecosystem a chance to recover.”