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Occurrence and biological impacts of fishing gear and other marine debris in the Florida Keys

Occurrence and biological impacts of fishing gear and other
marine debris in the Florida Keys
M. Chiappone
, A. White, D.W. Swanson, S.L. Miller
Center for Marine Science and NOAA’s National Undersea Research Center, University of North Carolina at Wilmington,
515 Caribbean Drive, Key Largo, FL 33037, USA
Fishing constitutes one of the most significant threats
to marine biodiversity and ecosystem function, docu-
mented by a growing body of information on the nu-
merous impacts to populations, community structure,
and habitats (Dayton et al., 1995; Roberts, 1995; Jen-
nings and Polunin, 1996). Besides the more obvious ef-
fects on species population structure, fishing activities
may also reduce the structural complexity of habitats or
cause corresponding changes in ecological processes
such as competition and predation (Russ, 1991; Jones
and Syms, 1998; Auster and Langton, 1999). These
patterns are most obvious in areas where explosives,
poisons, or other destructive fishing methods are used
(Hatcher et al., 1989). However, ecological effects can be
expected in any area where traps, mobile fishing gear
such as trawls, and, potentially, even large numbers of
recreational fishers operate (Russ, 1991; Jennings and
Lock, 1996).
The Florida Keys (Monroe County, Florida) have a
long history of commercial and recreational fisheries
that target a great diversity of fish and invertebrate
species using a multitude of gears (Tilmant, 1989;
Bohnsack et al., 1994). In terms of volume of seafood
landed, the Florida Keys is the most important area in
the state in landings, dockside value, and numbers of
commercial fishing vessels, especially for highly valued
invertebrate fisheries (Adams, 1992). There are also
significant, but largely undocumented effects of tens of
thousands of recreational fishers (Davis, 1977), who
target hundreds of species using mostly hook-and-line
and spear guns (Bohnsack et al., 1994). Baseline data on
fishing gear and other marine debris were collected as
part of a larger assessment of benthic community
structure in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctu-
ary, a large (9500 km2) marine protected area bordering
three national parks in southern Florida (Fig. 1). These
data are particularly timely because this coastal ecosys-
tem continues to experience a growing number of rec-
reational fishers, and both commercial and recreational
fishers exploit hundreds of invertebrates and fish species
(Bohnsack et al., 1994; Ault et al., 1998). This study
addressed several issues on marine debris occurrence
in shallow-water coral reef and hard-bottom habitats.
First, what is the spatial extent and frequency of remnant
fishing gear at multiple spatial scales in the Florida
Keys? Secondly, what factors, such as habitat type
(depth) or management regime (closed or open to fish-
ing) affect the spatial variability of marine debris oc-
currence? Thirdly, what are the biological impacts of
marine debris, especially from remnant commercial and
recreational fishing gear, on reef biota such as hard
corals and sponges?
Forty-five sites were surveyed southwest of Key West
to Big Pine Shoal in the lower Keys region of the
Sanctuary, spanning 60 km from southwest to northeast
and 12 km from nearshore to offshore (Fig. 1). Sites
were visited between July and August 2000 and were
selected using a two-stage, stratified random sampling
design (Cochran, 1977; Ault et al., 1999). Five of the 23
no-fishing zones (designated as sanctuary preservation
areas (SPAs), research only areas (RO), and ecological
reserves (ER)) in the Sanctuary were surveyed (indicated
in Fig. 1). Based on the spatial distribution of coral reef
habitat types (FDEP, 1998) and the depth limits of the
zones, the following habitat strata were sampled: near-
shore hard-bottom, mid-channel patch reef, offshore
isolated patch reef, offshore aggregate patch reef, back
reef and rubble/hard-bottom matrix, shallow fore reef
(4–7 m depth), and deeper fore reef (8–12 m) (Table 1).
Two random sites were sampled in each no-fishing zone,
within a particular habitat stratum that consisted of pre-
designated 200 200 m2areas randomly selected from a
grid constructed using a geographic information system.
Corresponding author.
0025-326X/02/$ - see front matter Ó2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
PII: S0 0 2 5 - 3 2 6 X ( 0 1 ) 0 0 2 9 0 - 9
Marine Pollution Bulletin 44 (2002) 597–604
Reference sites were randomly assigned by habitat type
(according to FDEP, 1998 data). Preliminary data on
debris density were not available, thus sample allocation
was based on the spatial distribution of hard-bottom
habitats and the amount of funded field days. At each
site, four random sampling points using differential GPS
Table 1
Sampling effort for fishing gear and other debris in the lower Florida Keys
Habitat type Management type No. sites No. transects Area sampled (m2)
Nearshore hard-bottom Western Sambo ER 2 8 400
Reference areas 2 8 400
Mid-channel patch reef Western Sambo ER 2 8 160
Reference areas 2 8 160
Offshore patch reef Western Sambo ER 2 8 160
Reference areas 2 8 160
Offshore aggregate patch Looe Key RO 2 8 400
Reference areas 2 8 400
Back reef rubble Western Sambo ER 1 4 200
Sand Key SPA 1 4 200
Reference areas 7 28 1400
Shallow fore reef (4–7 m) Looe Key SPA 2 8 400
Reference areas 3 12 600
Deeper fore reef (8–12 m) Sand Key SPA 2 8 400
Western Sambo ER 2 8 400
Eastern Sambo RO 2 8 400
Reference areas 9 36 1800
Total 45 180 8040
No-fishing zones are ER, RO, and SPAs.
Fig. 1. The lower Keys region of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, southeastern Florida, with marine debris sampling locations and no-
fishing zones.
598 M. Chiappone et al. / Marine Pollution Bulletin 44 (2002) 597–604
were located. At each GPS point, one 25 m transect was
deployed, typically from inshore to offshore (total of 4
transects per 200 200 m2site). Marine debris were
surveyed by searching an area 1 m out from each tran-
sect side. The transect dimensions were selected to max-
imize the area sampled given the number of personnel
available and the number of other variables mea-
sured during the study. The type of gear, dimensions
(length, width, height), and numbers of sessile inverte-
brates impacted (touched and/or scarred) were noted.
Surveys employed plastic slates, transect reels, and a
meter stick.
Comparisons of the mean frequency of occurrence
(number of incidences per 100 m2) of debris categories
and numbers of organisms impacted per 100 m2were
made among habitat types and between no-fishing zones
and reference areas by habitat type. Statistical compar-
isons of means at the two spatial scales were conducted
by calculating confidence intervals (CI) based on the
equation CI ¼mean t½a;dfstandard error, with stan-
dard errors estimated by the two-stage, stratified ran-
dom sampling design (Cochran, 1977). CI were adjusted
for multiple comparisons using the Bonferroni proce-
dure (Miller, 1981). Goodness of fit procedures using
chi-square analyses were employed to test whether the
frequency of debris was independent of habitat type and
management regime (Zar, 1996).
Nine major categories representing 18 individual types
of debris items were recorded from 45 sites encompass-
ing 8040 m2(Table 2). Of the 110 debris occurrences,
monofilament line (38%), wood from lobster pots (20%),
combined fishing weights, leaders, and hooks (16%), and
rope from lobster traps (13%) were the most frequently
encountered, representing nearly 90% of all debris. De-
scriptive statistics for rope from lobster pots, monofila-
ment, and wire leaders were generated from estimates of
length in the field. The mean length of 14 occurrences of
rope was 6:81:83 m ðmean 1SEÞ, with a range 0.7–
20 m. Of the 42 occurrences of monofilament line, the
mean length was 1:00:22 m ðmean 1SEÞ, with a
range 0.09–7.1 m. Wire leaders were found 17 times
within the transects, had an average length of 0:8
0:15 m ðmean 1SEÞand ranged from 0.13 to 2 m in
length. Total lengths of rope, monofilament line, and
wire leaders recorded from all sites were 95.2, 43.2,
and 13.6 m, respectively.
Total debris density was significantly greater (com-
parison-wise a¼0:002) on aggregate offshore patch reefs
compared to nearshore hard-bottom, and the density of
debris from lobster traps was significantly greater on
aggregate offshore patch reefs compared to nearshore
hard-bottom and deeper fore reef strata (Fig. 2). Al-
though the average density of hook-and-line gear was
3.4 per 100 m2for the shallow fore reef, there was
Table 2
Frequency of fishing gear and other marine debris in the lower Florida Keys
Debris type Frequency % of total debris No. habitats recorded No. sites recorded
Remnant lobster traps
Wood 22 20.0 3 7
Rope 14 12.7 4 10
Cement 1 0.9 1 1
Plastic opening to pot 1 0.9 1 1
Hook-and-line gear
Monofilament linea42 38.2 3 11
Fishing weights, leaders, hooks 18 16.4 4 12
Glass bottles 1 0.9 1 1
Fabric (cloth windsock) 1 0.9 1 1
Band 1 0.9 1 1
Mesh bag 1 0.9 1 1
Anchor 1 0.9 1 1
Cans 1 1.8 1 1
Can flip-top 1 0.9 1 1
Lead and other metals
Diving weights 1 0.9 1 1
Bar 1 0.9 1 1
Mesh grating 1 0.9 1 1
Rod 1 0.9 1 1
Boat motor 1 0.9 1 1
Total 110 100.0 5 28
Includes monofilament line with or without attached wire leaders, sinkers, and/or hooks.
M. Chiappone et al. / Marine Pollution Bulletin 44 (2002) 597–604 599
substantial inter-site variability. A disproportionate
amount of hook-and-line gear (55.7%) was found on the
shallow fore reef (X2¼136:7, df ¼6, P<0:001), espe-
cially in reference areas, despite only representing 11.1%
of the total sampling effort (Fig. 3). Similarly, a dis-
proportionate amount of lobster trap debris (57.9%
relative to 8.9% of effort allocation), primarily wood
slats and rope, was recorded from aggregate offshore
patch reefs (X2¼127:3, df ¼6, P<0:001), and to a
lesser extent on the shallow fore reef (23.7% vs. 11.1%
of sample allocation).
Although we expected no-fishing zones to yield lower
debris densities, especially for fishing gear, no significant
density differences (comparison-wise a¼0:05) for com-
bined debris types, hook-and-line gear, and lobster traps
were detected between zones and reference sites by
habitat type (Fig. 2). Chi-square analysis indicated that,
for all habitat types combined, the frequencies of hook-
and-line gear (X2¼0:06, df ¼1, P>0:75) and remnant
lobster traps (X2¼0:19, df ¼1, P>0:50) were not
significantly different between no-fishing zones and ref-
erence areas. While the frequencies of hook-and-line
gear (24 incidences in no-fishing zones, 37 in reference
sites) and debris from lobster traps (16 incidences in no-
fishing zones, 22 in reference sites) were slightly greater
in reference areas, appreciable amounts of debris were
Fig. 2. Mean frequency (95% CI) of combined debris types, combined hook-and-line gear, and combined lobster trap debris per 100 m2in the
Florida Keys between no-fishing zones (NTZ, ) and reference areas (REF, ) by habitat type. Habitat types are arranged from inshore to offshore
along the x-axis, with the number of sites sampled in each stratum in parentheses.
600 M. Chiappone et al. / Marine Pollution Bulletin 44 (2002) 597–604
recorded from the zones. For example, hook-and-line
gear was found 13 times from two sites within Sand Key
SPA at 8–12 m depth, or approximately three incidences
of gear per 100 m2. Similarly, hook-and-line gear was
recorded from the shallow fore reef of Looe Key SPA
seven times from two sites (two incidences per 100 m2),
with one site yielding six occurrences.
Fifty-four of the 110 occurrences (49%) of marine
debris caused tissue abrasion, other damage, and/or
mortality to 161 individuals or colonies of sessile inver-
tebrates, represented by sponges, branching gorgonians,
fire coral (Millepora alcicornis), scleractinian corals, and
the colonial zoanthid Palythoa mammilosa. Gorgonians
(37%) and sponges (28%) were the most commonly af-
fected, followed by fire coral (19%), scleractinian corals
(9%) and colonial zoanthids (8%). No significant differ-
ences (comparison-wise error a¼0:002) were detected in
the mean number of impacted organisms per 100 m2for
any of these taxa among habitat strata. Between no-
fishing zones and reference sites by habitat type, signifi-
cant differences (comparison-wise a¼0:05) in mean
impact frequency were detected for sponges (mid-chan-
nel patch reef zones >reference sites), scleractinian
corals (aggregate offshore patch reef zones >reference
sites), and colonial zoanthids (mid-channel patch reef
zones >reference sites), but not for fire coral or
branching gorgonians (Fig. 4).
Debris types causing the greatest degree of damage
were hook-and-line gear (68%), especially monofilament
line (58%), followed by debris from lobster traps (26%),
especially rope (21%). Hook-and-line gear accounted for
the majority of damage to branching gorgonians (69%),
fire coral (83%), sponges (64%), and colonial zoanthids
(77%) (Fig. 5). Remnant lobster traps were also impor-
tant, accounting for 64% of the stony corals impacted,
22% of gorgonians, and 29% of sponges. The frequency
of impacts for all debris types (X2¼49:3, df ¼4,
P<0:001) and hook-and-line gear (X2¼38:7, df ¼4,
P<0:001) were not equivalent among the invertebrate
taxa. In particular, branching gorgonians and sponges
were disproportionately more affected than other biota,
while scleractinian corals and colonial zoanthids were
less so. While the frequency of lobster trap impacts
differed among the taxa, they were more equally im-
pacted relative to hook-and-line gear (X2¼10:9, df ¼
4;0:05 <P<0:025), which caused disproportionately
more damage to gorgonians and sponges.
Considering the intensive commercial fishing effort
and the significant increases in registered recreational
boats and angler days in the Florida Keys (Bohnsack
et al., 1994), patterns in the distribution and frequency
of marine debris recorded during this study, especially
remnant fishing gear, are not surprising. However, this is
the first study we are aware of in the Florida Keys that
also attempted to document potential biological impacts
to subtidal organisms from marine debris, with com-
parisons made among multiple coral reef habitat types
and between no-fishing zones and reference areas.
Although 18 different debris items were recorded, hook-
and-line gear, especially monofilament line, and rem-
nant lobster traps, especially buoy lines, were the
predominant debris items and were differentially ap-
portioned to where fishing effort is concentrated for reef
fishes and spiny lobster, respectively. That is, hook-and-
line gear was most common in both shallow and deeper
fore reef areas further offshore, while lobster trap debris
was most abundant on offshore and mid-channel patch
reefs located between the shoreline and the offshore fore
reef. Not unexpectedly, debris density, particularly
hook-and-line gear, was very low or absent from near-
shore hard-bottom, mid-channel patch reef, and back
reef habitats. We initially assumed that, independent of
habitat type, the mean density of debris, especially
fishing gear, would be lower in no-fishing zones ‘‘pro-
tected’’ since 1997 compared to reference areas. How-
ever, no significant density differences for combined
debris, hook-and-line gear, and lobster traps were de-
tected. There are several possible explanations for these
patterns. First, non-compliance may have occurred in
some of the no-fishing zones sampled, especially on the
Fig. 3. Proportion of recreational hook-and-line gear and commercial lobster trap debris by benthic habitat type and management zone relative to
sampling allocation (number of sites).
M. Chiappone et al. / Marine Pollution Bulletin 44 (2002) 597–604 601
Fig. 4. Mean frequency (95% CI) of biological impacts per 100 m2for combined invertebrate taxa, sponges, and gorgonians in the Florida Keys by
benthic habitat type and inside (NTZ) and outside (REF) of no-fishing zones. Numbers of sites sampled in each stratum are in parentheses.
Fig. 5. Frequency of biological impacts to invertebrates by fishing gear and other debris in the Florida Keys.
602 M. Chiappone et al. / Marine Pollution Bulletin 44 (2002) 597–604
fore reef where hook-and-line gear was relatively com-
mon. Second, and specific to remnant lobster trap gear,
it is possible that storms or other factors distributed
ropes and wooden slats from the traps. Since lobster
traps are most commonly deployed in seagrass beds,
with some deployed on the periphery of patch reefs,
wave action from storms could have transported trap
components elsewhere. It is quite likely, for example,
that Hurricane Georges during 1998 resulted in the de-
struction and transport of numerous lobster traps.
Third, and plausible for both hook-and-line gear and
lobster traps, the gear encountered in 2000 could have
been remnant debris prior to 1997. Qualitative obser-
vations concerning whether debris is recent or heavily
fouled with organisms should be incorporated into fu-
ture surveys.
To put the study results into perspective, it is worth
noting that there has been a concerted effort on the part
of the FKNMS, non-governmental institutions (The
Nature Conservancy and The Bacardi Foundation), and
dive operators to organize and conduct an annual vol-
unteer reef cleanup effort (Adopt-a-Reef Program) in
the Florida Keys since 1994 (M. Enstrom, The Nature
Conservancy, personal communication). The program
targets recreational divers and provides data placards
for recording debris collected at designated locations,
usually popular dive sites, coordinated through local
dive shops. The types of data collected include date
and location of the cleanup, diver name, bottom time,
number of trash bags filled, a rank-order of the five most
important debris items, and an estimated biomass of
debris collected. From 1994 to 2000, 866 divers collected
nearly 7500 kg of debris, with hook-and-line gear, alu-
minum cans, plastic, cardboard, wood, and rope from
lobster pots constituting the most common items. These
are similar to results from the present study, the ex-
ception being the predominance of remnant lobster
traps in our surveys due to the inclusion of offshore
patch reefs. Despite 16 volunteer dives at Looe Key SPA
comprising 13 h of bottom time during 1999, hook-and-
line debris was not recorded, even though this was the
same general area as our 2000 surveys. In contrast, we
recorded six incidences of hook-and-line gear (mean of
three incidences per 100 m2) from the central fore reef
area of this site. This pattern may reflect differences in
specific locations surveyed, intensity of searches per unit
area for debris (i.e., roving diver versus small strip
transects), or non-compliance with regulations. Similar
explanations are plausible for Sand Key SPA. Despite
its designation as a no-fishing zone, hook-and-line gear
was found an average of 3.3 times per 100 m2on the
deeper fore reef. We are not aware of volunteer cleanup
efforts at this site, so this result may reflect remnant gear
prior to zone creation or to non-compliance.
Methods of fishing that cause habitat modification
or damage to benthic organisms represent potentially
serious consequences of fishing (Russ, 1991; Benaka,
1999). Although there is increasing recognition of the
consequences to benthic habitats from the use of mobile
fishing gear (Watling and Norse, 1998; Auster and
Langton, 1999) and other destructive fishing practices
(Saila et al., 1993; Jennings and Polunin, 1996), we are
not aware of any studies in the Florida Keys that have
evaluated biological impacts from marine debris and
specifically fishing gear. Interpretation of the biological
impact data is complicated by several factors. Both the
debris density and the distribution of sessile inverte-
brates sampled in this study are related to habitat type,
and secondarily by management type. Future efforts
need to consider the scaling of debris occurrence with
impacts relative to these two factors. For example, it
is probable that a coral-dominated reef with a given
amount of hook-and-line gear will not be affected in the
same way as a gorgonian–sponge dominated reef with
the same density of gear. Estimates of the proportion
of different taxa impacted by debris relative to total
abundance estimates are also useful for placing the de-
bris impact assessment into context. Also, the long-term
impacts to biota and the degree of recovery are un-
known. For example, we observed several instances
where hook-and-line gear, especially monofilament, was
overgrown by sponges, and it seems plausible that some
debris will be incorporated into the habitat matrix. We
also recognize that the future biological assessments
would be more useful if data on the severity of each
impact (e.g., amount of tissue damage) relative to the
size of the organism were collected.
We suggest that future debris surveys in the Florida
Keys should compare debris densities between no-fish-
ing zones and reference areas, as well as the impacts to
sessile biota and whether fishing gear is relatively recent
or biologically fouled. Despite these considerations, re-
sults from this study suggest that overall estimates of
biological impact from marine debris may be consider-
able, and such impacts are among a suite of factors that
affect the structure and condition of Florida Keys reefs.
As visitation and fishing pressure increase in this area,
it can be expected that the extent of marine debris and
the impacts to organisms will also increase.
Grants from Emerson Associates International, the
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and field
support from NOAA’s National Undersea Research
Center, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
supported this research. The authors would like to
particularly thank A. Creedon, M. Enstrom-Warner, E.
Franklin, B. Haskell, M. Tagliareni and The Nature
Conservancy. Research in the Florida Keys was granted
under NMS Permit FKNMS-074-98.
M. Chiappone et al. / Marine Pollution Bulletin 44 (2002) 597–604 603
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... Los objetos de metal o vidrio, junto con los aparejos de pesca que se descartan o abandonan, también se encuentran entre los tipos de desechos más comunes. (Hess et al., 1999;Backhurst and Cole, 2000;Chiappone et al., 2002;Keller et al., 2010). ...
... Although the types of debris found in the ocean are diverse, plastics account for a considerable quantity because they tend not to decompose (Galgani et al., 1996). Metal or glass objects together with discarded or derelict fishing gear are also among the commonly reported debris types (Hess et al., 1999;Backhurst and Cole, 2000;Chiappone et al., 2002;Keller et al., 2010). ...
Full-text available
San Andres Island is one of the main touristic places in Colombia, and its main attractions are its sandy beaches and the marine coastal ecosystems, such as coral reef and seagrass beds. However improper behavior of both residents and tourists on solid residue disposal may threaten not only the aesthetic of the island´s beaches, but also poses risk to marine life. The objective of this research was to assess the amount of litter on the main beaches of the island. We surveyed three popular beaches for ten weeks. We collected 9894 units of litter, equivalent to a weight of 23 212.47 g. Beach cleanliness was estimated using the Clean Coast Index, and two of the three sites resulted “extremely dirty”, while the third was classified as “dirty”. The majority of the litter was plastic (59.5 % of total weight), followed by glass (20.4 %). Due to the persistence and negative effects of solid waste on coastal fauna, it is necessary to improve the management of litter disposal, and improve educational programs for both residents and tourists, to increase their awareness on the problem.
... Primary ecological costs associated with direct impacts include injury and death of marine life through ingestion, entanglement, smothering, abrasion and habitat displacement (e.g. Chiappone et al., 2002Chiappone et al., , 2005Ceccarelli, 2009;Gregory, 2009;Wilcox et al., 2014;Gall and Thompson, 2015;Melli et al., 2017;de Carvalho-Souza et al., 2018;Lamb et al., 2018;Reichert et al., 2018;Valderrama Ballesteros et al., 2018;Patterson Edward et al., 2020). Less commonly reported are the toxicological impacts of monomer residues and leachates, adhered pollutants such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), toxic intermediates, and the accumulation of these chemicals within food webs (Andrady, 2011;Rochman et al., 2013;Hamlin et al., 2015;Nobre et al., 2015;Sussarellu et al., 2016). ...
... As such, while abundant on beaches of Ningaloo MP, it is likely that fishingrelated debris may also be present on the adjacent submerged reef ecosystems. Hook and line fishing gear is a prevalent gear type among recreational fishers (Chiappone et al., 2005) and has been attributed to negative impacts on sessile biological communities, with tissue abrasion, entanglement, smothering, disease and mortality recorded in gorgonians, sponges, corals and zoanthids (Bavestrello et al., 1997;Chiappone et al., 2002Chiappone et al., , 2005de Carvalho-Souza et al., 2018;Lamb et al., 2018;Ballesteros et al., 2018). While the potential exists for submerged fishing-related debris to have negative ecological impacts on the reef ecosystems of Ningaloo MP, additional surveys of submerged debris and subsequent effects on benthic communities are required. ...
Marine debris (MD) is a serious environmental concern globally. Yet, few studies have reported on MD in sanctuary zones of the Indian Ocean. Consequently, coastal transects were conducted to determine MD quantity, composition and distribution at northern Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia. Debris density ranged between 0.004 and 0.02 items m⁻² with the greatest density near Exmouth township. Composition was predominantly plastic (61%) with fishing-related items (25.5%) and plastic fragments/remnants (16%) the most numerous overall. Land-based and general sourced MD accounted for 88% of all debris. Debris levels were significantly lower at sites with higher visitation and increased distance from access points. There was no significant difference between sanctuary and non-sanctuary zones. Although not immune to MD, this study suggests its remote location, environmental awareness and management strategies implemented at Ningaloo Marine Park may be key to its low MD levels.
... Number of individuals of taxa is reported for each sampling date. The total number (N) and total frequency (F) are given as percentage (% Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean (Chiappone et al., 2002(Chiappone et al., , 2005Battisti et al., 2019b). In this phylum several detrimental effects were observed due to marine litter, such as abrasion or loss of tissue, partial or total mortality of individuals (Chiappone et al., 2005). ...
We investigated the temporal changes from spring to summer of the stranded litter and the composition of plastic encrusting biota along an Italian beach. Our findings highlight a higher quantity of litter (average value 1510.67 ± 581.27 items) in spring, particularly plastic material with a composition driven by currents, winds and waves transported from rivers to sea. During summer the source was caused by antisocial behaviours (e.g. cigarettes). Regarding the plastic size, the most is macroplastic (85.96 %), followed by mesoplastic (13.74 %) and mega-plastic (0.30 %) overall, and no seasonal trend was observed. Concerning the encrusting biota, Mollusca was the most frequent phylum found on plastic beach litter, whereas Porifera the most abundant overall. During spring a greater abundance of individuals was recorded compared to summer. The trend of taxa richness was decreasing from spring to summer. Arthropoda, Porifera and Mollusca phyla were significantly more abundant in spring, while Algae in summer.
... During years with hurricanes this percentage can rise to over 60% (Lewis et al., 2009). These lost traps and associated trap line cause significant damage to the coral reefs (Chiappone et al., 2002;Chiappone et al., 2005;Lewis et al., 2009), entangle sea turtles, manatees and dolphins (Adimey et al., 2014) and can continue to confine and starve reef fish and lobsters (Hunt et al., 1986;Butler and Matthews, 2015). (Martens and Huntington, 2012). ...
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In this NRCA, a selection of nine key natural resources vital to assessment of Biscayne National Park’s overall health have been identified; water quality, seagrasses, terrestrial vegetation, corals, marine invertebrates, reef fish/gamefish/sharks, sea turtles, marine mammals/American crocodiles, and birds. The condition and trend for each of these resources was evaluated using the best available science and the NPS structured resource assessment and reporting framework.
... It includes the resolution for the partnership to spread awareness in the public and business sector regarding the ecological and social impacts of plastic debris and to address these issues by integration with the national strategic framework ). This resolution also suggests the involvement of organizations [UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Environment Program (Marine Litter UNEP), International Maritime Organization] working at global, national, and regional levels to find solutions to prevent the deposition of lost fishing gears in the marine environment (Chiappone et al. 2002). ...
Microplastics (MPs), which are tiny plastic materials with size below 5 mm, are ubiquitous in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. They are an emerging pollutant posing potential threats to the biosphere. Once they get into the environment, microplastic wastes are difficult to eliminate and hence are continually accumulating in the environment resulting in pollution. Eventually, they end up in the food web, and due to their tiny size, they can easily enter bodies of the biosphere. They also can act as conduits for the proliferation of microbes and fungi. Undoubtedly, the MPs waste needs to be handled safely. Understanding the MPs cycle from the point of generation to disposal can help in the safe use of MPs and handling of MPs waste. This chapter, therefore, discusses the MPs cycle by focusing on the generation of MPs, characterisation of MPs and review of the current challenges associated with MPs waste. The current research trends in the area of MPs pollution will be reviewed together with recommendations on future mitigation measures.
... It includes the resolution for the partnership to spread awareness in the public and business sector regarding the ecological and social impacts of plastic debris and to address these issues by integration with the national strategic framework ). This resolution also suggests the involvement of organizations [UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Environment Program (Marine Litter UNEP), International Maritime Organization] working at global, national, and regional levels to find solutions to prevent the deposition of lost fishing gears in the marine environment (Chiappone et al. 2002). ...
The quantity of plastic debris entering the ocean per annum is growing at an alarming rate . Synthetic plastic waste, both macro and microplastics enter the marine environment from fishing, coastal tourism, sea-food and other marine industries, and other plastic products. Plastic pollution has a drastic effect on all aquatic life. The conventional plastics which turn up in seas and oceans are recalcitrant to biodegradation and end up being around for decades and centuries. Marine biota is attracted to plastic due to its colour, odour and through the algae that develop films on floating plastics which is a significant source of food for marine animals. The most obvious and disturbing impact of pollution of the marine ecosystem with macro - plastics is the ingestion, suffocation and subsequent death of hundreds of marine species. Bioremediation is a useful strategy for the control of plastic pollution in water bodies. The microbes which live in the vicinity of plastic waste adapts and grows on the surface of plastic as biofilms. They produce catalytic enzymes which can degrade the plastic. However, the extent of biodegradation of the plastic will depend upon its structure and chemical properties. This chapter deals with the biodegradation of macro-plastic waste utilizing various microbes, and the challenges associated with the approach.
... It includes the resolution for the partnership to spread awareness in the public and business sector regarding the ecological and social impacts of plastic debris and to address these issues by integration with the national strategic framework ). This resolution also suggests the involvement of organizations [UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Environment Program (Marine Litter UNEP), International Maritime Organization] working at global, national, and regional levels to find solutions to prevent the deposition of lost fishing gears in the marine environment (Chiappone et al. 2002). ...
Asia is the largest global plastic consumer, with about 35% of the world’s plastic consumption. Considering that Malaysia is a part of Asia, it is evident that plastic use is extensive. Unfortunately, discarding plastic causes several environmental hazards and affects human wellbeing. The environmental authorities and the government have been organising campaigns that focus on propagating the reduce, recycling, and reuse concept among the Malaysian public. Nevertheless, after considering the extensive presence of microorganisms in the environment and their affinity towards degrading plastic, the use of such microorganisms and enzymes appears an efficacious approach. Environmental degradation of plastic typically happens through five processes: photodegradation, thermo-oxidative breakdown, hydrolytic degradation, mechanical degradation, and microbial degradation. Microbial degradation comprises plastic breakdown by microorganisms, which produce enzymes that can split long-chain polymers. Microbial enzymes are interesting since they are cost-effective and require minimal maintenance; at the same time, they are easy to manipulate. Rhizopus delemar, R. arrhizus, Pseudomonas sp., Penicillium funiculosum, and Aspergillus flavus are the five microbes that have been cited extensively regarding their ability to break down specific plastics. Moreover, fungal, bacterial, cyanobacteria, and actinomycetes capabilities for plastic degradation are among the environmentally friendly techniques that can help the environment. This chapter discussed how cyanobacteria could be used to break down plastics. The projected research outcome is the identification of potent microbial agents that can rapidly degrade plastics with minimal environmental impact. Keywords Biodegradation mechanism Cyanobacteria Plastics Phycoremediation
The SEAFLOWER Biosphere Reserve (SBR) is the largest Marine Protected Area in the Caribbean Sea and the second largest in Latin America. Marine protected areas are under pressure from various stressors, one of the most important issues being pollution by marine litter, especially plastic. In this study our aim is to establish the distribution pattern and potential sources of solid waste in the different marine/coastal ecosystems of the islands of Providencia and Santa Catalina (SBR), as well as assess any interconnections between these ecosystems. At the same time, the distribution characteristics of marine litter in the different compartments facilitated a more dynamic understanding of the load of marine litter supplied by the islands, both locally and externally. We observed that certain ecosystems, principally back-beach vegetation and mangroves, act as crucial marine litter accumulation zones. Mangroves are important hotspots for plastic accumulation, with densities above eight items/m² (minimum 8.38 and maximum 10.38 items/m²), while back-beach vegetation (minimum 1.43 and maximum 7.03 items/m²) also removes and stores a portion of the marine litter that arrives on the beaches. Tourist beaches for recreational activities have a low density of marine litter (minimum 0.01 and maximum 0.72 items/m²) due to regular clean-ups, whereas around non-tourist beaches, there is a greater variety of sources and accumulation (minimum 0.31 and maximum 5.41 items/m²). The low density of marine litter found on corals around the island (0–0.02 items/m²) indicates that there is still no significant marine litter stream to the coral reefs. Identifying contamination levels in terms of marine litter and possible flows between ecosystems is critical for adopting management and reduction strategies for such residues.
Plastic waste is a ubiquitous form of marine pollution and recent studies have identified threats of plastic debris and the associated chemical compounds to wildlife. Sponges pump substantial quantities of water and are important in benthic-pelagic coupling, making them susceptible to interacting with such pollutants in the water column. Here, a method to detect common plastic-associated compounds including phthalates, a phthalate metabolite, bisphenol-A, and a brominated flame retardant in sponge tissue was developed. The method was applied to samples of Xestospongia muta and Niphates digitalis from a reef in the Florida Keys. All sponge samples had quantifiable levels of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, with trace levels of the associated metabolite detected in some N. digitalis samples. There was no quantifiable detection of bisphenol-A, or the brominated flame retardant. This work is a preliminary assessment of the relationship between plastic marine debris and marine sponges.
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We developed an efficient sampling design-based approach using fishery-independent surveys to estimate population abundance of pink shrimp Penaeus duorarum over time in Biscayne Bay, Florida. We initially implemented quarterly stratified random sampling (StRS) using nine habitat strata and determined that average pink shrimp density (numbers/m 2) was highest in late fall and lowest in spring and late summer. Coefficient of variation of the quarterly surveys, expressed as percent standard error/mean density, ranged from 5.8% to 14.3%. We found StRS to be more efficient (i.e., with lower variance) than simple random sampling (SRS) in most seasons. Statistical analyses suggested that pink shrimp densities were dependent on the biophysical habitat variables of bottom substrate, depth, and salinity. We also noted ontogenetic shifts in these re-lationships that were particularly pronounced at the onset of sexual maturation. Poststratification analysis was used to further evaluate several alternative habitat-based sampling schemes. Results showed that a five-strata composite design that used all three habitat variables was similar in performance, but less complex, than the original nine-strata design. In addition, the composite design outperformed both SRS and all other StRS designs indexed on single habitat variables. The new five-strata composite design was implemented in late summer 1997 and achieved a significant reduction in coefficient of variation compared with the late summer 1996 survey. This new design did not perform as well as expected in late fall 1997, which we attribute to a mismatch between our seasonal sample allocation strategy and the timing of pink shrimp recruitment into Biscayne Bay in 1997. Finally, we show how statistical sampling designs that use stratifications based on relevant habitat covariates can yield high-precision abundance estimates at low costs and provide a robust quantitative methodology for identifying habitat essential to fisheries pro-duction. Traditional management approaches for marine fisheries have mainly focused on regulating fishing effects on the exploited phase of a single stock. However, new directives, such as conserving ma-rine biodiversity (Bohnsack and Ault 1996) and the need to better understand the linkages between fish stock productivity and habitat that are em-phasized in the ''essential fish habitat'' provisions of the reauthorized Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (NOAA 1996), require a more holistic understanding of harvested populations and ecosystem dynamics. The case of pink shrimp Penaeus duorarum in the southeastern United States offers compelling support for this new management approach. Adult and juvenile life stages are segregated spatially, a common feature of tropical penaeid species (Garcia and Le Reste 1981). Adults reside in the soft bottoms of offshore
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A literature review of the use of underwater explosives indicated that the largest lethal zone for swimbladder fishes is located near the surface of the water. Mortality in this zone is due to rupture of the swimbladder from negative pressure induced by cavitation of the near-surface water volume from a subsurface explosion. Observational studies of blast fishing in the Philippines indicated that valuable pelagic species rather than typical coral reef species were the primary targets. Empirical data on the extent of various destructive fishing practices (blast fishing, anchor damage, and use of poisons), as well as coral regrowth estimates, provided inputs to a nomographic model of the reef ecosystem. The model provided time graphs of fish diversity and the amount of coral regrowth under various conditions. The results of the simulation model studies indicated that the sum of all current destructive practices was sufficient to continue loss of diversity and loss of live coral cover for about 25 yr before any recovery was expected. On the other hand a reduction in the rate of destructive fishing to about 30% of the current level would permit continuing slow recovery of both diversity and live coral cover. Available observational information suggests that this might best be accomplished by attempting to eliminate the use of poisons (such as cyanide) in reef areas and reducing anchor damage in addition to reducing blast fishing in coral areas. The probable effects of the latter may have been overemphasized in the past.
Documented interest in the fishery resources of Florida Bay dates from the earliest accounts of human activity. However, prior to the 1940's, fishing activities were largely subsistence oriented, providing only supplemental family income. The first large-scale directed fishery was for striped mullet. Increased development of south Florida, improved transportation, and population growth all led to increased sport fishing activities during the 1940's and 1950's. By the early 1970's, there were an estimated 25 000 recreational fishing trips a year to Florida Bay. Commercial activities reached a peak between 1977 and 1978 when over 350 individuals held permits to guide or fish commercially using nets, hook-and-line, or traps. Concern for the conservation of Florida Bay's marine resources quickly followed the explosion of commercial and recreational use occurring in the late 1940's. Florida Bay was added to Everglades National Park in 1950 and, in 1951, the first special government regulations were established to control the methods, species, and locations of fish harvest, although no systematic effort was made to collect accurate catch and harvest statistics until 1958. The National Park Service (NPS) monitoring program has provided detailed data on the fishing effort and harvest of both commercial and recreational fisheries up to the present time. The total recreational fish harvest from Florida Bay by guided and non-guided parties has ranged between 700 000 and 800 000 fish per year since 1984. Species most frequently sought by guide fishermen include tarpon, bonefish, snook, spotted seatrout, gray snapper, red drum, and Spanish mackerel. -from Author