During the thirteenth year of standardised beach surveys of man-made debris at Bird Island, South Georgia, a total of 183 items was collected. This represents a 5.0% decrease on the total recorded in 2001/02 and the lowest levels of beach debris during summer since the first year of recording in 1990/91. The distribution of debris between summer and winter was similar to the previous year with 26% of the total number of items collected during the winter. The total weight of debris collected (3.6 kg) was a decrease of 1 kg since last year. There was a decrease in the proportion of nylon fishing line (braid) and plastic packaging bands (only 0.6 % and 2.2% of the annual total, respectively) compared to previous years. The greatest proportion of debris (95 %) was miscellaneous debris. The reduction in fishing gear found on the beach throughout the recording period, particularly during the winter months when the fisheries at South Georgia are most active, is encouraging. Nevertheless, the amount of miscellaneous debris such as ropes and Styrofoam, which has increased during the summer by an order of magnitude over the last decade, indicates that debris is still being lost by vessels into the marine environment. All vessels operating in this region should be encouraged to comply not only the correct waste disposal procedures for fishing-related waste, but for all types of waste.
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