Hundreds of volunteers spent part of Saturday cleaning up New Jersey's beaches as part of Clean Ocean Action's (COA) 27th Annual Spring Beach Sweeps.

Over 1200 volunteers alone came to Sandy Hook and were greeted by US Senator Robert Menendez and US Representative Frank Pallone. State Senator Joe Kyrillos, who is challenging Menendez for his Senate seat,  spoke at the Atlantic City event and was joined by his family to clean the beach.

Volunteers came to 75 sites along the Jersey Shore from Sandy Hook to Cape May, removing cataloging each piece of debris to document ongoing pollution issues. according to COA.

"In 1985 we started with 75 people on one beach and today have 75 locations and thousands of volunteers. People love the beach and ocean and are proud of the real Jersey Shore, it is inspiring and our elected officials should take note.” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of COA.

The data collected today will be combined with data collected at the Fall Beach Sweep in October, and then analyzed and presented in an annual report. These annual reports identify pollution problems, educate citizens on the types and quantities of debris, aid legislators in passing and enforcing laws to protect the marine environment, and contribute to local and international efforts to combat marine pollution.

“The Beach Sweeps helps to raise public awareness about how debris enters the marine environment, as well as the types, quantities, and sources of marine debris,” stated Tavia Danch, COA’s Education Coordinator for Pollution Prevention. “The volunteer Beach Sweep Captains are the champions of the day for organizing each of the sites”, she added.

Among the unusual items collected on Saturday in Sandy Hook were a hair clip with fake hair, solar panel, lottery tix, flip-flop, flash drive, life jacket, magic wand fussy stuffing material, hair rollers, stuffed horse, dog tags, and plastic strawberries.

In Seaside Park a 4 foot dead, gutted shark was found near 2nd Avenue Beach.

Were you at the Beach Sweeps? Share your pictures!