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Marine pollution originating from purse seine and longline fishing vessel operations in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, 2003–2015

Abstract

Fisheries observer data recorded between 2003 and 2015 on-board purse seine and longline vessels operating in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean reported more than 10 000 pollution incidents within the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of 25 Pacific countries and territories, and in international waters. A majority of the reported purse seine pollution incidents related to dumping of plastics waste. Other common pollution incidents related to oil spillages and to abandoned, lost or dumped fishing gear. Data analysis highlighted the need for increased monitoring, reporting, and enforcement of pollution violations by all types of fishing vessels operating in the Pacific region; a regional outreach and compliance assistance programme on marine pollution prevention and improvements in Pacific port waste reception facilities.

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Fig. 1

Source Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), 2015

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Source Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), 2015

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Source Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

Notes

  1. Entanglement: (World Animal Protection 2014; Macfayden et al. 2009; Laist 1997).

  2. Ingestion: (Laist 1997; Rochman et al. 2013, 2014; Van Cauwenberghe and Janssen 2014; Romeo et al. 2015).

  3. Introduction of invasive species: (Barnes 2002; Winston et al. 1997; Zettler et al. 2013).

  4. Negative impacts to tourism and fishing dependent economies: (Hall 2000; Nash 1992; Ballance et al. 2000; Leggett et al. 2014; IMO 2015a, b, c; UNEP 2009).

  5. Costs to vessels: (Hall 2000; UNEP 2009).

  6. Destruction to important and fragile ecosystems: (Hall et al. 2015; Donohue et al. 2001).

  7. Smothering: (Gregory 2009; Schlining et al. 2013); and

  8. High financial costs of cleanup: (Ballance et al. 2000; Leggett et al. 2014; UNEP 2014).

  9. MARPOL and its associated annexes can be found through IMO Publishing: Virtual Publications, MARPOL on the Web.

  10. These 11 countries include Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Of the 14 SPREP member Pacific island countries, only Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia and Nauru are not Contracting Parties to MARPOL Annex I/II and V (IMO Status of Conventions 2015a, b, c). Fiji, however, has draft legislation in place for MARPOL Annexes I, II, IV and V.

  11. Exceptions include food wastes, non-harmful cargo residues, non-harmful cleaning agents contained in wash waters and carcasses of animals carried on-board as cargo and which died during the voyage (IMO 2015a, b, c).

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge the support, co-operation and communication of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in helping to better understand the nature of these pollution incidents and work towards achievable solutions to mitigate this problem.

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Correspondence to Kelsey Richardson.

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Richardson, K., Haynes, D., Talouli, A. et al. Marine pollution originating from purse seine and longline fishing vessel operations in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, 2003–2015. Ambio 46, 190–200 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-016-0811-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-016-0811-8

Keywords

  • Abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear
  • Fisheries
  • Marine pollution
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Plastic pollution