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    Beach litter survey Signy Island, South Orkney Islands, 1993/94

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    Delegation of United Kingdom
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    A beach litter survey was carried out on Signy Island, South Orkney Islands during the 1993/94 austral summer. Similar surveys were carried out during the 1990/91, 1991/92 and 1992/93 summers. Debris was cleared from three study beaches, Foca Cove, Cummings Cove and Starfish Cove, in December 1993, January and February 1994 and items recovered were identified, counted, weighed and any clues regarding their origin noted. At Foca Cove, a total of 118 items were recovered with a combined weight of 18.35 kg. At Cummings Cove, a total of 170 items were recovered (6.21 kg) and at Starfish Cove, a total of 6 items were found (0.30 kg) .
    It is clear that almost all debris found originates from accidental or deliberate dumping of rubbish from ships or discarded gear from fishing vessels, rather than from any scientific research stations in the South Orkney Islands.
    The beach litter surveys carried out in 1990/91, 1991/92 and 1992/93 showed a drop in both the weight of debris and the total number of items recovered on all three study beaches. However, results from the 1993/94 survey show that this trend has been reversed. For example, at Foca Cove, the total weight of debris recovered rose to 18.35 kg in 1993/94 compared to 4.45 kg in 1992/93, and the number of items recovered increased to 118 items compared to 23. However, both the total weight and numbers of items recovered from this beach are still less than the amounts recorded in 1990/91.
    The reasons for the increase in the incidence of beach debris at Signy Island are unknown. There has been no increase in the number of research or tourist vessels visiting Signy Island, no reported expansion in krill fishing around the South Orkney Islands and the sea area is still closed to fin-fishing.