Protection of the Antarctic marine environment is a matter of concern to CCAMLR as the general health of the environment affects the species covered by the Convention. CCAMLR has implemented measures to reduce the amount of debris entering the marine system and to mitigate its impact in the Convention Area. Specific measures have been implemented to address the risk associated with entanglement of marine mammals in plastic packaging bands (used to secure bait boxes) and the injury to seabirds caused by the discharge of hooks in offal.
Members annually submit information on marine debris from beach surveys, debris associated with seabird colonies, entanglements of marine mammals, and hydrocarbon soiling of mammals and seabirds. A set of standard forms and instructions have been developed for the collection and submission of these data. The CCAMLR Marine Debris Database contains data from 13 sites, predominantly in the Antarctic Peninsula and on Sub-Antarctic islands.
As well as monitoring the occurrence of debris CCAMLR has also developed a number of initiatives to educate fishers and fishing vessel operators about the potential impact of marine debris on seabirds and marine mammals. Since 1989 fishing and fisheries research vessels operating in CCAMLR waters have been required to display a marine debris poster which outlines procedures for the handling, storing and discarding of different types of refuse. A poster entitled Overboard is not Forgotten (1.26 MB) highlighting the dangers posed to marine mammals by plastic debris has also been produced in multiple languages.