Marine plastic pollution is a symptom of an inherently wasteful linear plastic economy, costing us more than US$ 2.2 trillion per year. Of the 6.3 billion tonnes of fossil fuel-derived plastic (FFP) waste produced to date, only 9% has been recycled; the rest being incinerated (12%) or dumped into the environment (79%). FFPs take centuries to degrade, meaning five billion tonnes of increasingly fragmented and dangerous plastics have accumulated in our oceans, soil and air. Rates of FFP production and waste are growing rapidly, driven by increased demand and shifting strategies of oil and gas companies responding to slowing profit growth. Without effective recycling, the harm caused by FFP waste will keep increasing, jeopardizing first marine life and ultimately humankind. In this Perspective article, we review the global costs of plastic pollution and explain why solving this is imperative for humanity's well-being. We show that FFP pollution is far beyond a marine environmental issue: it now invades our bodies, causing disease and dysfunction, while millions of adults and children work in conditions akin to slavery, picking through our waste. We argue that an integrated economic and technical solution, catalyzed through a voluntary industry-led contribution from new FFP production, is central to arrest plastic waste flows by making used plastic a cashable commodity, incentivizing recovery and accelerating industrialization of polymer-to-polymer technologies. Without much-needed systematic transformation, driven by a contribution from FFP production, humanity and the oceans face a troubling future.
Manganese nodules contain economically valuable metals which may be mined in the future to supply metals to a growing world population. Thus far, environmental research has focused mainly on impacts occurring at the seafloor or in the water column but largely neglected any impacts caused above the sea surface. Emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants contribute to, inter alia, global warming, acidification and photochemical ozone formation, which all negatively affect ecosystems and humans. We quantify the annual fuel consumption and emissions associated with a potential nodule mining operation in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone with an annual production of 3 million dry tons. We base the assessment on publicly-accessible energy demand estimates from three different studies and complement this with a calculation of the fuel demand and emissions of nodule transport scenarios to three different destinations. The global warming, acidification and photochemical ozone formation potentials range between 82,600–482,000 t CO2-equivalent (-eq.), 1,880–11,197 t SO2-eq., and 1,390–8,734 t NOx-eq., respectively, depending on factors including the engine loads, specific fuel oil consumption and transport speeds. We then discuss the regulatory dimension surrounding the topic. As three separate regimes (climate change, deep-sea mining and shipping) are applicable, we analyze the applicable framework and provide an outlook for the future regulation of DSM-related GHG emissions.
In coastal habitats, mussels are exposed to microplastics (MP; plastic 0.1μm–5 mm) and silt, two abiotic particlesthat are similarly sized and lack nutrition. The addition of MP or silt may change the functional response ofmussels. We measured clearance rate (CR) ofMytilus trossulusin three particle treatments (algae, MP + algae, andsilt + algae) across four concentrations to (1) determine if the effects of MP and silt are similar and (2) disentanglethe effects of particle type, particle concentration, and proportion of abiotic particles. CR decreased by 62%at high MP concentrations (> 1250 particles mL−1) but was not affected at equivalent silt concentrations. Thesefindings suggest high MP concentrations inhibit mussel CR, more than expected by changes in particle concen-tration or the proportion of abiotic particles. As plastic production increases, mussel exposure to MP will increase,potentially reducing energy transfer, benthic-pelagic coupling, and water clarity.
Rangsang Island is home to more than 48,000 residents. Climate change has been a critical issue to the Island and threatened the existence of the inhabitants. This study is proposed to identify the zone of the coastal area of Rangsang Island which is vulnerable to climate change. By mapping coastal vulnerability index (CVI) of the island, it is expected to be a reference of local government in planning their spatial management. The method of this study was by a direct survey for collecting data of geomorphology, beach elevation, sea level rise, tidal fluctuation, significant wave height, and changes in the coastline. To determine CVI, each parameter is divided into 5 categories and given a value level: 1 for very not vulnerable, 2 for not vulnerable, 3 for moderate, 4 for vulnerable, and 5 for very vulnerable. The results show that most villages on the island are classified as highly vulnerable to climate change, namely 9 villages. Even 2 villages are threatened very high risk because the village has CVI more than 12.5. Only 6 villages whose territory has moderate vulnerability index. Vulnerability level of coastal Rangsang Island is strongly influenced by geomorphological variable and coastal elevation. In addition, the variable coastline changes and sea level rise also contributed to the vulnerability index of the Island.
The CETUS project is a cetacean monitoring program that takes advantage of cargo ships to undertake survey routes between Continental Portugal, Macaronesian archipelagos and West Africa. From 2012 to 2017, over 50 volunteers participated in the program, actively surveying more than 124.000 km, mostly beyond national jurisdictions in the high seas, for which little or no previous data existed. In total, the collection comprises 3058 georeferenced transect lines and 8913 positions, which are associated with 2833 cetacean sightings, 362 occurrences of other pelagic megafauna, 5260 estimates of marine traffic and 8887 weather observations. This dataset may provide new insights into the distribution of marine mammals in the Eastern North Atlantic and was published following the OBIS-ENV-DATA format (with the most recent biodiversity data standards at the time of writing). Consequently, it may serve as a model for similar visual line transect data collections yet to be published.
Biotechnology can provide innovative and efficient tools to support sustainable development of aquaculture. It is generally accepted that use of the term ‘genetically modified’ causes controversy and conflict among consumers, but little is known about how using the term ‘biotechnology’ as a salient feature on product packaging affects consumer preferences. In an online discrete choice experiment consisting of two treatments, a set of 1005 randomly chosen Swedish consumers were surveyed about use of hormone and triploidization sterilization techniques for salmonids. The information given to the treatment group included an additional sentence stating that the triploidization technique is an application of biotechnology, while the control group received the same text but without reference to biotechnology. Analysis using a hierarchical Bayes approach revealed significant consumer reactions to the term biotechnology. When the term was included in information, variation in consumer willingness-to-pay (WTP) estimates increased significantly. Moreover, some participants were dissuaded towards an option guaranteeing no biotechnological intervention in production of fish. These results have multiple implications for research and for the food industry. For research, they indicate the importance of examining the distribution of variation in WTP estimates for more complete characterization of the effects of information on consumer behavior. For the food industry, they show that associating food with biotechnology creates more variability in demand. Initiatives should be introduced to reduce the confusion associated with the term biotechnology among consumers.
In June 2018, >600 scientists from over 50 countries attended the Fourth International Symposium on the Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans (ECCWO-4). ECCWO-4 provided a forum for scientists to share information, build understanding, and advance responses to climate impacts on oceans and the many people, businesses and communities that depend on them. Seven Key Messages emerging from the symposium and relevant information from recently published literature are summarized. Recent scientific advances are improving our ability to understand, project, and assess the consequences of different levels of 21st century climate change for ocean ecosystems and ocean dependent communities. Outcomes of the symposium highlighted the need for on-going engagement with stakeholders, communities, and managers when considering the trade-offs associated with tactical and strategic opportunities for adaptation to climate change. Science informed adaptation frameworks that engage the public in their development are needed for effective management of marine resources in a changing climate. The summary provides a brief overview of the advances in climate-ocean science emerging from the symposium and provides context for the contributed papers within the broader socio-ecological advances of the discipline.
The oil spill risk in the environments surrounding the Bohai Sea is aggravated by increasing marine petroleum exploitation. There is a growing need to assess the risk of oil pollution in sensitive marine areas and coastlines. Both the recurrence frequency of spill accidents and the duration of exposure in marine areas and coastal shorelines are considered in our statistical model, which consists of a probabilistic oil spill model used to simulate various oil spill scenarios at twenty oil fields in the Bohai Sea based on high-resolution oceanographic, meteorological, and geomorphological data. The statistical results of the risk to marine areas integrate the probability of pollution in marine areas, oil slick thickness, and duration of water surface covered by a floating slick. The coastal risk index includes the probability of a shoreline hit, average mass of stranding oil, and time of oil beaching. The spatial distributions of environmental triggering factors and coastal/marine vulnerability are merged, and a map of the oil spill risk in the Bohai Sea is presented, which is useful for contingency planning and the assessment of environmental risk of marine petroleum exploitation.
Marine debris is widespread in all the world's oceans. Currently little is understood about how marine debris affects the chemistry of the surface oceans, particularly trace elements that can adsorb to the surface of marine debris, especially plastic debris, or be taken up by biofilms and algae growing on the surface of marine debris. Selenium (Se) is a micronutrient that is essential to all living organisms. Average seawater Se concentrations in the modern ocean are <1 nM. Here we measure the concentration of Se in surface water and one deep water sample and the concentration of Se found in algae/biofilms growing on the surface of macro-debris collected in October of 2012. Concentrations of Se in biofilm varied more according to the type of biofilm rather than the type of plastic. However, further Se measurements are needed for more conclusive results.
Marine plastic litter and microplastics pollution is a global governance problem with unknown and potentially dire consequences. Efforts to promote individual‐centered solutions to the problem are increasingly necessary but are insufficient to tackle the root causes of the problem. Therefore, a concerted policy response at the global level is imperative. The success of such efforts necessarily depends on the way in which the problem is framed and understood, including its degree of urgency. This paper engages with this problem by considering the nature of the issue in light of the crisis term and argues that the global problem of marine litter may be more productively considered a “creeping crisis” given the complexity, scope, and spatio‐temporally fragmented nature of the problem.
In 2018, during a circumnavigation of Antarctica below 62° S by the sailing boat Katharsis II, the presence of plastics was investigated with surface sampling nets at ten evenly spaced locations (every 36° of longitude). Although fibres that appeared to be plastic (particles up to 2 cm) were found in numbers ranging from 1 particle (0.002 particles per m3) to 171 particles (1.366 particles per m3) per station, a Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) analysis indicated that these particles were not composed of plastic. The fibres which superficially reminded plastic were composed of silica and are of biological origin most likely generated by phytoplankton (diatoms). Therefore, the offshore Antarctic locations were proven to be free of floating microplastics.
Plastic debris and marine microplastics are being discharged into the ocean at an alarming scale and have been observed throughout the marine environment. Here we report microplastic in sediments of the Challenger Deep, the deepest known region on the planet, abyssal plains and hadal trenches located in the Pacific Ocean (4900 m–10,890 m). Microplastic abundance reached 71.1 items per kg dry weight sediment. That high concentrations are found at such remote depths, knowing the very slow sinking speed of microplastics, suggests that supporting mechanisms must be at-play. We discuss cascading processes that transport microplastics on their journey from land and oceanic gyres through intermediate waters to the deepest corners of the ocean. We propose that hadal trenches will be the ultimate sink for a significant proportion of the microplastics disposed in the ocean. The build-up of microplastics in hadal trenches could have large consequences for fragile deep-sea ecosystems.
The mitigation of microplastic pollution in the environment calls for a better understanding of the sources and transportation, especially from land sources to the open ocean. We conducted a large-scale investigation of microplastic pollution across the Greater Melbourne Area and the Western Port area, Australia, spanning gradients of land-use from un-developed catchments in conservation areas to more heavily-developed areas. Microplastics were detected in 94% of water samples and 96% of sediment samples, with abundances ranging from 0.06 to 2.5 items/L in water and 0.9 to 298.1 items/kg in sediment. The variation of microplastic abundance in sediments was closely related to that of the overlying waters. Fiber was the most abundant (89.1% and 68.6% of microplastics in water and sediment respectively), and polyester was the dominant polymer in water and sediment. The size of more than 40% of all total microplastics observed was less than 1 mm. Both light and dense polymers of different shapes were more abundant in sediments than those in water, indicating that there is microplastic accumulation in sediments. The abundance of microplastics was higher near coastal cities than at less densely-populated inland areas. A spatial analysis of the data suggests that the abundance of microplastics increases downstream in rivers and accumulates in estuaries and the lentic reaches of these rivers. Correlation and redundancy analysis were used to explore the associations between microplastic pollution and different land-use types. More microplastics and polymer types were found at areas with large amounts of commercial, industrial and transport activities. Microplastic abundances were also correlated with mean particle size. Microplastic hotspots within a coastal metropolis might be caused by a combination of natural accumulation via hydrological dynamics and contribution from increasing anthropogenic influences. Our results strongly suggest that coastal metropolis superimposed on increasing microplastic levels in waterbodies from inland areas to the estuaries and open oceans.
Marine fauna in the California Current System is susceptible to entanglement in anthropogenic debris. We examined beach survey data from six California counties to describe trends of entangled marine birds and mammals (1997–2017). Surveyors reported 357 cases of entanglements among 65,604 carcasses. Monterey County had the greatest average entanglement rate (0.007) of surveyed counties, however, was not statistically different from Santa Cruz (p > 0.05). Twenty-six seabird species (97%) and three marine mammal species (3%), and three non-marine birds were affected. Numerically, Common Murre (23%), Brandt's Cormorant (13%), Western Gull (9.6%), Sooty Shearwater (8%) and Brown Pelican (7%) were the most affected due to abundance, but their entanglement rates were not statistically different (p > 0.05). The most vulnerable species were those frequently documented as entanglement despite low deposition numbers (Merganser spp. 25%). Entangling material consisted primarily of monofilament line (some hooks/lures), but other entanglement items were reported.
Many species of inshore, coastal, and reef fishes in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GOM) aggregate to spawn at specific sites and times. These fish spawning aggregations (FSAs) can be highly vulnerable to concentrated fishing pressure, which can have detrimental effects on entire stocks and ecosystems. There has been only limited research and management attention on FSAs in the U.S. GOM. We synthesized available information on FSA locations, spawning seasonality, and fisheries management for 28 regionally important species known or likely to form FSAs in the U.S. GOM. We identified and mapped 22 multi-species FSA sites which all fall within areas predicted from recently published FSA distribution models. But the number of known sites is probably far less than the number that actually exist. Only three of the 22 (13%) FSA sites were located within no-take marine protected areas and none were in state waters. Management measures (e.g., seasonal closures or gear restrictions) to protect spawning fishes are also limited, particularly in state waters. We recommend expanded cooperative research efforts to characterize FSAs in the U.S. GOM in order to assist managers in prioritizing sites and seasons for additional protection. Important multi-species FSAs can be incorporated in a network of monitored and managed “sentinel” sites. These efforts should build stakeholder engagement in the management process, generate data that can be used to improve fisheries stock assessments, contribute to developing ecosystem-based fisheries management approaches, and confer resilience to important fisheries stocks and ecosystems of the U.S. GOM.
The period from 2019 to 2020 is critical in determining whether the World Trade Organization (WTO), tasked with eliminating capacity-enhancing fisheries subsidies, can deliver to the world an agreement that will discipline subsidies that lead to overfishing. Here, following extensive data collection efforts, we present an update of the current scope, amount and analysis of the level of subsidisation of the fisheries sector worldwide. We estimate global fisheries subsidies at USD 35.4 billion in 2018, of which capacity-enhancing subsidies are USD 22.2 billion. The top five subsidising political entities (China, European Union, USA, Republic of Korea and Japan) contribute 58% (USD 20.5 billion) of the total estimated subsidy. The updated global figure has decreased since the most recent previous estimate from 2009, of USD 41.4 billion in 2018 constant dollars. The difference between these two estimates can be largely explained by improvements in methodology and the difference in the actual amount of subsidies provided. Thus, we consider direct statistical comparison of these numbers to be inappropriate. Having said that, the difference between the estimates suggest that the increase in fisheries subsidies provided in the preceding decades may have halted. Still, the bulk of harmful ‘capacity-enhancing’ subsidies, particularly those for fossil fuels have actually increased as a proportion of total subsidies. As such, for the benefit of marine ecosystems, and current and future generations of people, all hands must be on deck in helping the WTO reach a meaningful agreement to discipline subsidies that lead to overcapacity and overfishing.
Disposal of mine tailings in marine shallow water ecosystems represents an environmental challenge, and the present paper reports results from a field study in Frænfjorden, Norway, which is subject to such disposal. Structural and functional responses of benthic infauna and epifauna were investigated along a gradient from heavy tailings deposition to reference conditions. The tailings clearly impacted the faunal composition, with lowered species number close to the outfall. Total abundance of infauna increased in the most impacted area due to dominance of opportunistic species, whereas the epifauna was reduced and represented by a few scattered specimens only. In the most impacted area functional responses included an increase in mobile carnivores/omnivores and species utilizing symbionts. Sessile and tube-living taxa, and deposit and suspension feeders decreased, probably due to smothering in combination with tailings-associated changes of the substrate. Functional diversity decreased for both infauna and epifauna, but less than the structural diversity.
Pollution is a widespread global problem, in which there is a particular need to involve the general populations. Approaches for involving the public in order to contribute for reaching a sustainable environment may include plastic collection and mapping of urban soundscape. Here we briefly reflect on some of the latest initiatives in Denmark involving citizen labor and citizen science.
This review describes and summarizes the knowledge on established and experimental vaccines developed against viral and bacterial pathologies affecting the most important farmed marine finfish species present in the Mediterranean area, namely European seabass Dicentrarchus labrax, sea bream Sparus aurata, turbot Psetta maxima and meagre Argyrosomus regius. The diseases that have been recorded in seabass, sea bream and meagre are caused by bacteria Vibrio anguillarum, Photobacterium damselae, Tenacibaculum maritimum as well as by viruses such as Viral Encephalopathy and Retinopathy/Viral Nervous Necrosis and Lymphocystic disease. The main pathologies of turbot are instead bacteriosis provoked by Tenacibaculum maritimum, Aeromonas sp. and Vibrio anguillarum, and virosis by viral hemorrhagic septicaemia virus. Some vaccines have been optimized and are now regularly available for the majority of the above-mentioned pathogens. A measurable immune protection has been conferred principally against Vibrio anguillarum, Photobacterium damselae sub. piscicida and VER/VNN.
Plastic contamination is universal all through the marine condition, yet gauges of the worldwide plenitude and weight of coasting plastics have needed information, especially from the Southern Hemisphere and remote areas. Here we report a gauge of the all-out number of plastic particles and their weight gliding on the planet's seas from 24 endeavours (2007–2013) over every one of the five subtropical gyres, coastal Australia, Bay of Bengal and the Mediterranean Sea directing surface net tows (N = 680) and visual review transects of huge plastic flotsam and debris (N = 891). Utilizing an oceanographic model of coasting trash dispersal adjusted by our information, and rectifying for wind-driven vertical blending, we gauge at least 5.25 trillion particles weighing 268,940 tons. When looking at between four size classes, two micro plastic <4.75 mm and meso and micro plastic >4.75 mm, a huge loss of micro plastics is seen from the ocean surface contrasted with anticipated paces of discontinuity, recommending there are systems at play that expel <4.75 mm plastic particles from the sea surface. The focus on the life cycle assessment and the brief overview of the plastic waste management over the ocean surfaces with the various mathematical models has been studied. The impact of the ocean pollution is also being analysed.