In 2012 data on beach surveys, debris associated with seabird colonies, marine mammal entanglements and hydrocarbon soilings were received from South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay. Non-fishing items such as plastics, packaging materials and wood remain the most common type of debris items found in beach surveys. The fishing items found were mostly from longline and trawl origins. Plastic packaging bands continue to be found in beach surveys, however, for the first time since these surveys originated in 2002 there have been no closed bands found at any of the three sites. The amount of debris in colonies of grey-headed albatrosses, wandering albatrosses and black-browed albatrosses at Bird Island decreased significantly since 2011, with the major category of items found being plastics. The amount of fishing related items (fishing lines and hooks) found in wandering albatross colonies remains the foremost debris item found in each season. The number of marine mammal entanglements decreased since 2011 with packaging bands and fishing gear the main entangling materials. There was only one new hydrocarbon soiling reported from King Edward Point in 2010. The results of the ongoing monitoring of marine debris in the Convention Area suggest that while the type and amount of debris varies from annually there have been no long-term trends over the past decade. Extrapolation of these findings to areas outside Area 48 are limited by data on long-term monitoring of marine debris and Members with opportunities to engage in such monitoring are encouraged to submit data to the Secretariat.
Sarah Mackey (CCAMLR Secretariat)