Expeditions | Oceana Europe
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Seafloor Plastics Survey 2020

A five-day expedition to asses the impact of plastics on the seafloor


The survey continues a good pace. We have already observed more than twenty areas and plastics appear on all dives. Sometimes they are only a few here and there, and other times they are concentrated in larger quantities.

The lot of the seafloor is mostly sandy with green algae, although the presence of small rocks is not uncommon, where some gorgonians and sponges are located.

In the deeper areas, the seafloor has the greatest amount of mud. Many of them full of cavities and crevices made by some fish and crustaceans.

A few months ago, I was asked the usual set of questions about Oceana’s expeditions for an interview: What is the most beautiful thing you have seen? The most shocking? What is the worst thing? Unfortunately, the answer to these last two questions was the same... Real, underwater dumps, meters and meters of ROV "flights" where plastic had clearly won the battle for the terrain... I remember clearly looking up "the eyes" of the ROV (the tilt) and see, or rather, not see an end to an underwater landfill...

Day one of our mission for the search of plastics started off at 08:00 hours with a hearty breakfast. We explored areas relatively close to Pobla Marina to test out our equipment, beginning with a deep-sea meadow. We dived in one end of the meadow, while the ROV explored the other. And, although we located some plastics, we decided that the search must continue. So, we went to an area with a sandy bottom, again, no luck: the water got rough, so we had to get back on board.

After picking up our equipment and the trip to Puebla Marina, the Ranger´s home port, we finally met the rest of the crew. We all then had an introductory meeting where we planned for the days ahead and then set off to get everything ready for tomorrow. We´re all excited and looking forward to this five-day survey!

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The Crew