TOWARDS A CLEAN PATAGONIAN SEA

The Patagonian Sea ecosystem and species are threatened by marine plastic pollution, and the impacts of this problem transcend a single country border.
The threat posed to biodiversity by marine plastic pollution from fisheries operations needs to be addressed based on a regional perspective. We focus our efforts in improving the understanding on the marine plastic pollution problem caused by fisheries operations on the Patagonian Sea biodiversity and in promoting integral solutions to prevent it.

© WCS Chile

We aspire to prevent plastic pollution from fisheries and reducing its impact on the Patagonian Sea biodiversity.

A set of harmonized measures in the regional context is required.
We focus our efforts on:

  • Updating the diagnosis on plastic pollution causes and impacts throughout the Patagonian Sea.
  • Providing technical advice to strengthen policy frameworks.
  • Supporting fisheries personnel capacity building in best management practices.
  • Promoting the development of adequate infrastructure for managing fishery waste in main ports of the region.
  • Fostering circular economy through recycling initiatives.

© Doumecq Milieu / © Aves Argentinas

© Lisandro Crespo

Waste from fishing vessels have also affected the Patagonian Sea.

Globally, around 20% of marine litter sources originate at the sea. In the case of fisheries, marine plastics come from abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear and the mismanagement of vessels´ waste. The amount of plastic debris discarded by the commercial fishing industry has doubled over the last 50 years (from 340,000 tons to 640,000 tons annually).

Plastic debris travel considerable distances, have a medium to long term persistence and can accumulate far from its point of production.

The amount of marine litter in coastal areas, surface, water column and seabed of the Patagonian Sea is growing in detriment of ecosystems, biodiversity and human health.

The most commonly documented impacts of plastic pollution stem from entanglement and ingestion of macroplastic debris. Marine vertebrate species -especially turtles, birds and mammals- ingest plastic debris, which causes malnutrition, muscular problems, disease and increased mortality of certain species. Other species -such as birds, sea lions, fish, turtles and cetaceans- are entangled by plastic debris, causing severe injuries and deaths. Marine debris may also affect the structure and composition of the benthos communities developing on soft and hard substrata.

© Karumbé Uruguay

Marine pollution by plastics is an increasing environmental issue globally. Between 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic waste are estimated to enter the ocean each year.

Main sources:

Recreational litter
Fishing debris
Sewage-related debris
Shipping waste.
Other: storm water and urban runoff, and riverine input.

Regardless of its source, debris is introduced into the marine ecosystem given that its management and disposal are improperly accomplished, and by accidental loss and natural catastrophes.

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