Marine debris is a historical problem that continues to grow. The world’s oceans and waterways are constantly polluted with a wide variety of marine debris ranging from soda cans and plastic bags to derelict fishing gear and abandoned vessels. Many animals, such as sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals, have been known to ingest marine debris, which may lead to loss of nutrition, internal injury, intestinal blockage, starvation, and even death. Derelict fishing gear, such as fishing nets and lines, poses entanglement hazards for marine life, can smother the living substrate upon which it settles, and can serve as a vector for the introduction of alien species. Marine debris is an international concern not only because it washes up on beaches and shorelines worldwide, but also because debris can be transferred from one country to another via ocean currents and because it impacts commercial fisheries throughout the world. International cooperation is needed to create public awareness while developing ways to decrease the amount of debris in oceans around the globe.
Cooperation and coordination among many countries was fostered through four international marine debris conferences held between 1984 and 2000, as well as through smaller international agreements, meetings, and workshops. Each conference developed a suite of recommendations on how to move forward. Some recommendations were implemented, and many others showed up repeatedly at multiple conferences and meetings over the course of the past 25 years. This conference will allow the sharing of information on the implementation, progress, and obstacles to these recommendations and reviewing their effectiveness.
Proceedings available online:
- 2000: http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/documents/intmarinedebris.html
- 1994: http://www.st.nmfs.gov/tm/afsc/afsc051.pdf
Poster abstracts and manuscripts only: