eCite Digital Repository

Floating marine debris in fjords, gulfs and channels of southern Chile


Hinojosa Toledo, IA and Thiel, M, Floating marine debris in fjords, gulfs and channels of southern Chile, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 58, (3) pp. 341-350. ISSN 0025-326X (2009) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2008 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2008.10.020


Floating marine debris (FMD) is reported from all oceans. The bulk of FMD are plastics, which due to their longevity cause multiple negative impacts on wildlife and environment. Identifying the origins of FMD (land- or sea-based) is important to take the necessary steps to diminish their abundance. Using ship surveys we examined the abundance, composition and distribution of FMD during the years 2002-2005 in the fjords, gulfs and channels of southern Chile. Abundances of FMD were relatively high compared with other studies, ranging from 1 to 250 items km -2. The majority (~80%) of FMD was composed of styrofoam (expanded polystyrene), plastic bags and plastic fragments. Styrofoam, which is intensively used as floatation device by mussel farms, was very abundant in the northern region but rarely occurred in the southern region of the study area. Food sacks from salmon farms were also most common in the northern region, where ~85% of the total Chilean mussel and salmon harvest is produced. Plastic bags, which could be from land- or sea-based sources, were found throughout the entire study area. Our results indicate that sea-based activities (mussel farming and salmon aquaculture) are responsible for most FMD in the study area. In order to reduce FMDs in the environment, in addition to stronger legislation and identification of potential sources, we suggest environmental education programs and we encourage public participation (e.g. in beach surveys and clean-ups).

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Floating marine debris; Waste; Litter; Plastics;Styrofoam; sea-based; aquaculture;Chile
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Hinojosa Toledo, IA (Mr Ivan Hinojosa)
ID Code:88977
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:169
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2014-02-21
Last Modified:2022-08-31

Repository Staff Only: item control page