Ocean Voyages Institute recently completed a 48-day expedition, which the organization says is the “largest open ocean clean-up in history,” recovering 206,000 pounds of plastic and derelict “ghost” fishing nets from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch between the coasts of California and Hawaii.
While the group recovered a large amount of consumer waste, much of the garbage they collected was commercial fishing equipment that claimed the lives of many marine creatures, as evidenced by a number of turtle skeletons wrapped in the nets. Most of the 80,000 tons of plastic trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is thought to come from commercial fishing and maritime operations.
It is estimated that approximately 12.7 million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year and that there is a total of 150 million tons currently circulating. This non-biodegradable trash poses a serious threat to marine biodiversity. Ocean Voyages Institute is one of the organizations trying to combat some of this damage.
Carly Sisson is associate editor at our sister publication, Soundings Magazine.