The CCAMLR Marine Debris program was established in 1989 to monitor debris levels in the Convention Area, with specific regard to fishing debris items. Members annually submit data using a standardised set of forms and instructions covering marine debris from beach surveys, debris associated with seabird colonies, entanglements of marine mammals, and hydrocarbon soiling of mammals and seabirds. The CCAMLR Marine Debris Database contains data from 15 sites, predominantly in the Antarctic Peninsula and on Sub-Antarctic islands.
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. In addition to the Marine Debris program, CCAMLR has implemented measures to monitor and 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.
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, Overboard is not Forgotten (1.26 MB), which outlines procedures for the handling, storing and discarding of different types of refuse. This poster, highlighting the dangers posed to marine mammals by plastic debris, has been produced in multiple languages.
CCAMLR is a Member of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter and actively contributes data to global marine debris assessments. If you or your organisation are interested in collaborating on efforts to monitor and mitigate marine debris, please contact ccamlr [at] ccamlr [dot] org.