Friday, October 27, 2006

Haunted by ghost nets

Long before learning about plastics in the ocean, what first inspired an interest in marine issues was reading Song for the Blue Ocean by Carl Safina. An absolutely beautiful, poetic epic that illustrates just how much were losing from our seas.

Founder of the Blue Ocean Institute Safina recently wrote another oceanic hymn, Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth's Last Dinosaur. And is currently at sea, studying leatherbacks and loggerheads, and preparing for an upcoming west coast book tour.

I've been reading Safina's voyage accounts, and recently asked if he'd been seeing much evidence of plastic waste at sea. A rhetorical question really, as we know its out there.....

"Lots of plastics evident in plankton tows near coasts, less farther offshore. This varies according to where current and convergences pile up the plastics. Laysan Island for instance, absolute mid-Pacific, is loaded w/ plastics."

Photos from his recent trip show a ghost net with billfish bones hundreds of miles from land. Ghost nets - fishing line "abandonded" at sea - can float for months, entangling and strangling all sorts of marine life. Gives me an idea for a very scary halloween costume.

Carl Safina will be speaking here in LA on November 7th, at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach! Details and RSVP info on the website, wanna join me?

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