Monday, October 04, 2010


Committee on the Effectiveness of International and National Measures to Prevent and Reduce Marine Debris and Its Impacts

Ocean Studies Board, Division on Earth and Life Studies


Washington, D.C.

This is an important book related to my Flotsam: Ocean Debris Science and Policy Seminar. (Click on the link below to go directly to the book) Garbage and debris are one of the most alarming threats to safe beaches and sound oceans. Fishing nets that are loose in the ocean, on coasts and on the bottom are one of the biggest killers of fish seals, dolphin, whales, crabs, lobster and other marine life. Soon we will see scuba divers drowning when they get trapped in these deadly nets. reefs will be covered and smothered with the wiping out sunlight and marine life around the reef.

Have I gotten your attention yet!

In the 21st century around the world there will need to be dramatic initiatives to clean up this mess. There are few experts on this and YOU could become one of them! (see summary of the issue at the end of this post)

Steffen Schmidt
Professor of Political Science and Coastal Policy
Iowa State University
Nova Southeastern university Oceanographic center, Dania Beach, Florida

Summary of the Issue -
"The debris of modern living frequently finds its way into our waterways and down to the ocean. Some enters as intentional or accidental discharges from ships and platforms; the rest is transported to the sea by rivers, wind, sewers, and beachgoers. Given the diversity and abundance of sources, the persistent nature of most plastics, and the ability of tides and currents to carry debris long distances, marine debris is a global concern that is likely to increase in the 21st century.

The impacts of debris are varied. In 1988, it was estimated that New Jersey lost between $379 million and $3.6 billion in tourism and other revenue as a result of debris washing ashore. Impacts to marine organisms are often difficult to quantify but are well known. Ingested marine debris, particularly plastics, has been reported in necropsies of birds, turtles, marine mammals, fish, and squid. There is concern that plastics are able to adsorb, concentrate, and deliver toxic compounds to animals that ingest them. Derelict fishing gear (DFG) and other debris are known to entangle and injure or kill marine organisms. Studies on population-scale impacts of entanglement and ingestion are few and largely inconclusive. Nevertheless, these effects are troubling and may represent unacceptable threats to some species. For example, entanglement of Hawaiian monk seals, the most endangered seal in the United States, is arguably the most significant impediment to that species’ recovery.

Marine debris regulation falls largely under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL) Annex V, which entered into force in 1988."

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