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    Monitoring marine debris and its impact on marine living resources in Antarctic waters

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    This paper has been prepared by the Secretariat of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in response to a request from CEP-IV for information on actions taken by CCAMLR on marine debris from fishing vessels, especially in relation to compliance with Annex IV of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (CEP-III Final Report, paragraph 19).
    A number of measures have been adopted and implemented by CCAMLR to monitor and assess the level of marine debris and its impact on marine living resources in Antarctic waters. Long-term programs have been initiated at a number of sub-Antarctic and Antarctic sites. These programs include surveys of beached marine debris, surveys of fishery-related marine debris associated with colonies of marine mammals and seabirds, ingestion by seabirds of plastic materials and entanglement of marine mammals in fishery-related debris. During recent years surveys of beached marine debris have been conducted in accordance with a standard method. Standard forms have been created for the collection and submission of data from other marine debris studies. All data collected are submitted to the CCAMLR database for analysis. As the number of long-term marine debris programs established by CCAMLR Members is still relatively small, the amount of information collected at present is insufficient to ascertain trends in the accumulation of debris and of its impact on marine animals.
    A special conservation measure was adopted by CCAMLR to regulate the use and disposal of plastic packaging bands on fishing vessels. In order to prevent pollution from marine debris in the CCAMLR Convention Area, a large proportion of which appears to originate from fishing vessels, CCAMLR launched an educational campaign aimed at fishermen.
    CCAMLR keeps the issue of marine debris under annual review.