Data on beach surveys, debris associated with seabird colonies, marine mammal entanglements and hydrocarbon soilings were received for 2015 from South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States 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, with an increase in open bands found at Bird Island. The amount of debris in albatross colonies at Bird Island varies; debris associated with grey-headed albatrosses remains consistent, debris associated with black-browed albatrosses decreased, while debris associated with wandering albatrosses increased considerably from the previous year. The amount of fishing related items (fishing lines and hooks) found in wandering albatross colonies remains the most frequent debris item found in each season. The number of marine mammal entanglements has decreased at Bird Island and King Edward Point, although packaging bands and fishing gear remain the main entangling materials. There were no new hydrocarbon soiling events reported. The results of the ongoing monitoring of marine debris in the Convention Area suggest that while the type and amount of debris varies annually there have been no long-term trends over the past decade. Extrapolation of these findings to areas outside Area 48 are limited by the absence of 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.
Ms Emily Grilly
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