Author(s): Eriksson C, Burton H, Fitch S, Schulz M, van den Hoff J
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Abstract The worlds' oceans contain a large but unknown amount of plastic debris. We made daily collections of marine debris stranded at two sub-Antarctic islands to establish (a) physical causes of strandings, and (b) a sampling protocol to better estimate the oceans' plastic loading. Accumulation rates at some beaches were dependent on tide and onshore winds. Most of the 6389 items collected were plastic (Macquarie 95\%, Heard 94\%) and discarded or lost fishing gear comprised 22\% of those plastic items. Stalked barnacles (Lepas spp.) were a regular attachment on Macquarie debris but not at Heard Island. The daily accumulation rate of plastic debris on Macquarie Island was an order of magnitude higher than that estimated from monthly surveys during the same 4 months in the previous 5 years. This finding suggests that estimates of the oceans' plastic loading are an order of magnitude too low. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Mar Pollut Bull
and referenced in Journal of Pollution Effects & Control