Monday, September 17, 2007

First Manta Trawl

September 16, 2007
Today we took our first water samples with the Manta Trawl, which is dragged along the surface behind the boat and feeds seawater through a mesh tube roughly the size of a can of tennis balls. The mesh filters out whatever is greater than a third of a millimeter in size. The results were shocking. Mixed in with lantern fish and small jellyfish were hundreds of pieces of plastic and various balls of fishing line and other debris. There
were even pre-production plastic pellets, sometimes called nurdles that are used to make all the plastic objects we are familiar with. The weight of the plastic pieces was far greater than the sea life itself. We have not gotten to the area of highest concentration of debris, the so called "Eastern Garbage Patch," but the quantities of plastic we are finding rivals what we found there in 1999. We believe the debris quantity is increasing rapidly. Tomorrow we will take more samples, as we will be in the general area of the EGB we sampled in 1999 and 2005. After dark, when we finished sampling a weather front with wind and rain blew down on us and we quickly set the genoa jib and turned off the motor, sailing to our destination at 8 knots, the fastest speed on the trip so far.
Aloha from ORV Alguita


leana said...

My name is Leana and I am from G.W. high school on Guam. I am taking a maine biology class and we are currently learning about the effects of plastic in the ocean. The results of your manta trawl is scary. I just wanted to ask a quick question. What do you think our chances are of getting the plastic out of the ocean?

ORV Alguita said...
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ORV Alguita said...

Leana, this is a very good question and I believe if we all do our part, we can eventually arrive at a solution. The most important thing now is to learn about what damage plastic waste is doing to our ocean and to our world in general. Information is a decisive factor in solving these types of problems, and students like you can contribute to their eventual solution. We need to put pressure on governments, so that they, along with industry, centers of higher education, like the current hub of marine debris research, the University of Hawaii, Hilo, and non-profit organizations like Algalita Marine Research Foundation can unite to keep our planet healthy. Unfortunately, we cannot remove the uncountable plastic fragments mixed up in the ocean, and only if we stop putting plastic in, will the ocean spit them all out.
Que posibilidades hay de que podamos sacar el plastico del mar?
Leana esta es una muy Buena pregunta y personalmente creo que si, si todos ponemos un granite de arena este problema puede llegar a tener solucion. Lo mas importante por ahora es saber cual es el dano que esta produciendo la basura plastica en los oceanos y en el planeta entero. La informacion es un factor decisivo en la solucion a este tipo de problemas y estudiantes como tu pueden aportar mucho a que esto se haga realida. Tenemos que poner presion en nuestros gobernantes para que junto con las industrias apoyados por universidades, y organizaciones no gubernamentales como AMRF unamos esfuerzos en mantener sano nuestro planeta. Desgraciadamente, no podemos sacar los innumerables pedazos de plastico que estan intermezcladas en todo el oceano. Y solo si paramos de ponerle plastico, puede el oceano escupirlos todos.