Marine debris data were collected at Bird Island and King Edward Point, South Georgia, at Signy Island, South Orkneys and at Goudier Island, Antarctic Peninsula for the period April 2018 to March 2019. Surveys of beached marine debris at Bird Island recorded a total of 141 items during austral winter (April to September 2018) and 404 items during summer (October 2018 to March 2019). Twelve items of beached debris were recorded at Signy Island (operational during summer only; 14 November 2018 to 4 March 2019). Fifteen items of beached marine debris were recovered from Goudier Island (operational 10 November 2018 to 8 March 2019). Entanglements of three Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) were observed at Bird Island and two at King Edward Point with no marine mammal entanglements recorded at Signy Island or Goudier Island. In total, 81 items of marine debris were found in association with seabird colonies at Bird Island, most commonly in association with wandering albatrosses (35 items; 43 %). One incidence of an entangled wandering albatross (Diomedia exulans) was reported; a bird with fishing line around its leg - this was removed successfully. There were no observed incidences of hydrocarbon soiling at any site during the reporting period. Overall, the occurrence of beached marine debris was above the long-term mean at Bird Island during summer, around the mean level at Goudier Island and below the mean at Signy Island and Bird Island during winter. The incidence of marine mammal entanglements was below the long-term mean at all sites surveyed. Debris associated with seabird colonies was above the mean level for black-browed Thalassarche melanophrys) and grey-headed albatrosses (T. chrysostoma), but below the mean for wandering albatrosses and giant petrels (Macronectes. halli, M. giganteus).
Professor Philip Trathan (Oceanites)
Dr Chris Darby (United Kingdom)