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On July 27, Join Ocean Conservancy and Discovery Channel for Shark Week Cleanups in Knoxville, New York and Santa Monica

“Even apex predators like sharks are vulnerable to plastic pollution”

Washington, DC – WEBWIRE

To kick off Shark Week and help protect sharks’ ocean habitat, Ocean Conservancy has partnered with Discovery Channel to host shoreline cleanups on Saturday, July 27 in three major U.S. cities. Open to the public, cleanup events will be held in Knoxville, New York and Santa Monica in partnership with Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) coordinators in those areas. Shark Week kicks off the following evening, July 28, on Discovery Channel.

“Sea turtles, whales, and even seabirds like albatrosses are often used as the ‘poster child’ of the ocean plastic crisis,” said Nicholas Mallos, senior director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas® program. “The reality, though, is that even apex predators like sharks are vulnerable to plastic pollution.”

Ocean plastic has been found everywhere from the bottom of the Mariana Trench to the most remote Arctic ice, impacting more than 800 species. A study recently published in the journal Endangered Species Research shows that dozens of shark species are susceptible to entanglement in plastic fishing line, straps, and other debris.

“One of the easiest ways to help protect sharks and other incredible ocean animals—and to really see the ocean plastic problem for yourself—is to participate in a cleanup,” said Allison Schutes, director of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. “The Shark Week cleanups are a wonderful opportunity to connect Shark Week fans to our on-the-ground conservation efforts. Our hope is that participants become year-round ocean advocates and join us again in the fall for the 2019 International Coastal Cleanup.”

This is the second year that Ocean Conservancy and Discovery Channel have partnered during Shark Week. As with all ICC events, volunteers at the Shark Week cleanups will not only collect trash but also log their findings using Ocean Conservancy’s Webby Award-nominated smartphone app Clean Swell. The data will be uploaded to Ocean Conservancy’s Ocean Trash Index—the world’s most comprehensive database of marine debris.

Ocean Conservancy has been mobilizing the International Coastal Cleanup since 1986, with millions of volunteers collecting more than 300 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways around the world. In 2017, for the first time ever, all of the top-ten items collected by volunteers were made of plastic—items like cigarette butts (which contain plastic filters), beverage bottles, bottle caps, grocery bags, and food wrappers.

To sign up for a Shark Week cleanup, visit To participate in this year’s annual International Coastal Cleanup—to be held on September 21 at locations all around the world—visit

Note to editors: Nicholas Mallos and Allison Schutes are available for interviews upon request. Ocean Conservancy staff will be on-site at the cleanup locations and available for comment.

About Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit, or follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

About Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas® Program

Ocean Conservancy has led the fight for a clean, trash-free ocean since 1986, when the organization launched its first annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) on a beach in Texas. Since then, the ICC has expanded to over 150 countries and has mobilized millions of volunteers to remove more than 300 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways around the globe, all the while logging each item and building the world’s largest database on marine debris.

Recognizing that cleanups alone will not solve the growing ocean plastic crisis, Ocean Conservancy has leveraged that data and invested in additional science to better understand the sources of ocean plastic. In 2012, Ocean Conservancy launched the Trash Free Seas Alliance®, uniting conservationists, scientists and members of the private sector to work together for pragmatic, impactful solutions to the problem, such as the launch of Circulate Capital and Urban Ocean. In 2019, Ocean Conservancy assumed leadership of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to reduce the amount of lost and abandoned fishing gear entering the ocean and engage fishers on best practices. Learn more at

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