News

Operation Icefish Collaboration on Antarctic Plastic Research

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014

In collaboration with Sea Shepherd’s 11th Southern Ocean Defence Campaign, Operation Icefish, Living Ocean scientists Colette Harmsen, Bia Figueiredo and Jake Parker will undertake a study of the ingestion of plastics by marine life caught or entangled in fishing gear used by poachers in the waters of Antarctica.

Living Ocean Scientists and Sam Simon crewmembers, Bia, Jake and Colette. Photo: Jeff Wirth

The study is part of a research project that will investigate the extent of plastic pollution in the Southern Ocean, conducted in accordance with Antarctic scientific research permits issued to Living Ocean by the Australian Government.

Aboard the Sam Simon, the scientists will dissect and study dead Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish, seabirds and other marine life that has been killed as a result of illegal toothfish fishing operations.

The collaboration also includes a recognised world authority on plastic ingestion by seabirds, Dr Jennifer Lavers of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Tasmania. Dr Lavers will perform further, land-based, analysis on plastic samples collected with a view to publication in scientific journals.

Based in Sydney, Australia, Living Ocean is a charity that promotes the awareness of human impact on the ocean, through research, education, creative activity in the community, and support of others who sustain ocean health and integrity.

OPERATION ICEFISH CAMPAIGN HOME PAGE

Plastic retrieved from the stomach of a single Northern Hemisphere seabird (petrel); 1cm equals 0.4 inches
Albatross dragged down by a fishing line and drowned (Photo courtesy Australian Antarctic Division)
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