Table_1_Litter Windrows in the South-East Coast of the Bay of Biscay: An Ocean Process Enabling Effective Active Fishing for Litter.DOCX (665.52 kB)

Table_1_Litter Windrows in the South-East Coast of the Bay of Biscay: An Ocean Process Enabling Effective Active Fishing for Litter.DOCX

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posted on 14.05.2020 by Irene Ruiz, Oihane C. Basurko, Anna Rubio, Matthias Delpey, Igor Granado, Amandine Declerck, Julien Mader, Andrés Cózar

Large scale convergence regions of floating marine litter are commonly observed in semi-enclosed seas as the Bay of Biscay. However, clean-up activities on such accumulation regions are limited by the spread of the large-size floating litter on the sea surface. Data gathered by a small-scale fishing vessel devoted to active fishing for floating litter activities during the spring and summer of 2018 reveals that the linear streaks of high concentration of floating litter (so-called litter “windrows”) are common accumulation structures in the south-east coast of the Bay of Biscay. The random search of litter windrows for their collection through surface tows of macro-nets was proved to be an effective action for floating litter mitigation. A total of 196 tows collected 16.2 tons of floating marine litter in 68 working days. Most of the litter windrows were around 1 km length and, on average, accumulated 77.75 kg of floating marine litter. Fishing, shipping and aquaculture sectors were the source of 35% of the 4,130 litter items analyzed (55% in weight of the sourced items), and plastic was the most common type of material (96% in terms of items). A better understanding of the phenomenon of the litter windrows, capable to guide clean-up efforts in space and time, would provide a considerable improvement in the efficiency of mitigation actions to reduce the marine litter pollution. The observations of litter windrows in the coastal area of the south-east of the Bay of Biscay demonstrate the key role of submesoscale processes in the distribution of FML. The present work provides a thorough description of floating litter windrows in nature, which it was non-existent to date. The results are the kind of proof necessary to boost the research addressed on the submesoscale aggregations of FML. Coupling litter windrows observations with remote-sensing technology and high-resolution modeling techniques offer great opportunities for the mitigation actions against marine litter.

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