Monday, March 22, 2010

Night Trawling

22 March 24°29.25S, 98°06.39E
I was dreaming that I was sitting at a board meeting for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation when suddenly someone walked into the dream-office and said “Do you want to trawl now?” Half asleep, I responded “What? Yes. Huh?” She asked again, “We can trawl now at night so you can maybe catch some fish.” It’s 4:30am and Anna and I are zombies on deck staggering about with the manta trawl. The crew of the 250ft. tall ship “Stad Amsterdam” are eager to see what we will find next. “We’re only going 3 knots, so we can trawl as long as you like,” Christiana says.

Anna’s got the trawl log in hand, jotting down the starting time and latitude/longitude. I’m wearing the harness and locked into the side of the ship as we open the side gate, hang overboard with the trawl, and throw it in.

“We are approaching 5 knots,” the officer on deck says. Moments before sunrise, we pull the trawl back onboard. The cod end (that’s the removable sock on the end of the net) has a dozen 4-8 centimeter-long fish, like flying fish and myctophids. We’re still far from the accumulation zone of the Indian Ocean Gyre, but there are plastic fragments here as well.
I’m reminded again that our connected oceans are a plastic soup with varying surface densities of plastic pollution. We expected to find very little here, yet here it is. There are many people with good intentions that want to solve the problem of plastic pollution by going first to the ocean. It is extremely impractical to start here. It must happen upstream, in the hands of those that create plastic, make plastic goods, and the customers that use them. We need better systems for collection and containment of waste, better products with less packaging and better materials, and plastic itself should no longer be used for throw-away products. Knowing that plastic is an environmental hazard, we must end the “Throw-Away” culture that created this mess in the first place.


Anonymous said...

it is good the someone is tryng to fixs the problom of plastic becuse is a big hazared in the f
world today. how dose the plastic afected fish every day.

university high school
united stats californa

Anonymous said...

university high school
what would be a good way to save the sea animals?

Anonymous said...

Well hello my name is kent i go to university high school in Los Angeles,CA. Im in the 9th grade. How many fishes die a day because of plastic in the ocean

Anonymous said...

its good to see that you have been cleaning up the oceans, But how did you guys find the fishes all dirty?

Univiersity High school
United states california

Anonymous said...

its very good thaat you guys are making a big change in the ocean! :)
university senior high school :D
usa :D!
9th grader :)

Anonymous said...

Plastic and things like that is one of the things that are ruining our oceans and I think the fact that someone is trying to make a difference in the ocean is a really good, positive thing.

Univetrsity High school
Los angeles, CA
9th grade

Anonymous said...

i aldo think that we should try to not throw plastic into the ocean because its very bad for the animals inn the ocean and they sometimes think its food do they end up eatying it and die :/

how does plastic afect the enviroment?

university high school
united stats californa
9th jennifer

Anonymous said...

my question is why doesnt isnt there teams sent out to clean the ocean that would make more jobs and make the the ocean cleaner
University high School U.S.A CA
9th grade Christopher Sanchez