Marine debris surveys at Volunteer Beach, Falkland Islands, during the summer of 2001/02

Helen Otley, Rebecca Ingham
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2003, 46 (12): 1534-9
This survey evaluated the monthly accumulation rate of marine debris and the types of objects washed ashore at Volunteer Beach on East Falkland between October 2001 and March 2002. The mean (+/-SD) accumulation rate of marine debris was 77+/-25 items/km/month, of a mean weight of 17.3+/-12 kg. Forty different objects were collected and the five most frequent items were cotton fabric, string, polystyrene packing sheet, plastic packing tape and broken plastic pieces. The debris on Volunteer Beach was dominated by fishing debris; 42% of the items were discarded fishing equipment, while 39% of the items were of a packaging or associated nature. The mostly likely source of this household waste was fishing vessels, with Falkland Islands Government (FIG) fisheries observers seeing 27 of the 40 items of debris collected from Volunteer Beach being discarded from fishing vessels. It is suggested that, although further marine debris research is warranted, more effective at-sea ship waste disposal regulations are required in Falkland waters to reduce environmental and economic threats both at the local and international level.

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