Plastic in guts of Steelhead from the Vedder River

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by Rockfish, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Rockfish

    Rockfish Well-Known Member

    There is a good picture of it in the Province.

    A Chilliwack fisherman thought the steelhead he hooked last week on the Vedder River would make a fine supper before he cut it open to find its body stuffed with garbage.

    Jordan Butt, 32, said he felt “disgusted” by what he found Feb. 13: Shards of blue, orange, black and white plastic, some the size of a loonie, perforating the fish’s stomach and shredding its anus.

    “It looked like it had been in there for a long time,” said Butt, who suspects the fish ingested the plastic in the ocean before returning to fresh water to spawn.

    “I caught a fish with a cigarette butt in it once, but that’s it. I used to work in a tackle shop but I’ve just never heard of anything like this.”

    Butt, who usually releases his catches, has fished the Vedder River since he was a teenager and fished for steelhead a few times each week since the season began in late December.

    He said the plastic-filled steelhead put up a good fight and seemed perfectly healthy, but now he’s concerned how much plastic is polluting the Pacific Ocean and wonders if other fish will meet the same fate.

    “I just have a bad feeling about it,” Butt said. “It’s a real thing, it does exist and it might be affecting us now.”

    Butt thinks his catch may be an anomaly but hopes other B.C. anglers who discover foreign objects in their catches document and report what they find.

    Dr. Peter Ross, director of the ocean pollution research program at the Vancouver Aquarium, said that while Butt’s discovery is a lone case, it “raises the question of a potentially significant conservation threat,” the likes of which he hasn’t seen in fish before.

    “Its very troubling for a couple of reasons,” said Ross, who also suspects the steelhead ingested the plastic in the ocean.

    “Number 1, there’s many pieces of plastic in this animal and number 2, they look to be large enough to cause significant problems.”

    During recent research into micro-plastics, his team found that smaller plastic particles were found in the ocean at a much higher concentration near land than offshore.

    He said that much of the plastic waste floating near Vancouver and in the Straight of Georgia seems to be domestic pollution rather than tsunami debris from Japan.

    The aquarium is in the process of acquiring equipment to analyze the makeup of plastics found in the ocean and will conduct research over the next year to distinguish between different types of plastic in the ocean and the relative contribution of different sources of plastic in B.C.

    Dave Barnes, who worked for Fisheries and Oceans Canada for 37 years and caught his first steelhead in the Vedder River in 1960, said he considers the top end of the river “almost pristine” and also thinks the plastic came from the Pacific.

    He has found lures in fish stomachs in the past but nothing quite like Butt’s discovery.“Rocks are quite common, small pebbles, but no, I’ve never seen plastic like that,” Barnes said.

    Nikki Rekman of the Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society said volunteers have cleaned up more than 90 tonnes of garbage along the river since 2002.

    During biannual cleanups, hundreds of volunteers pick up waste such as furniture, fast food packaging, household trash, electronics and shotgun shell casings.

    Almost all of the trash is picked up along the river’s banks, however, and the overall amount of trash they find along the river has decreased over the years, Rekman said.

    © Copyright (c) The Province
  2. fshnfnatic

    fshnfnatic Well-Known Member

    They say it probably came from while the fish was feeding in the ocean,but I think it just as well could have came from the Vedder itself.Those pieces were all flat and squarish shaped and would tumble downstream in the current very well.
    I can see how an aggressive Steelhead would strike at something like that in certain situations.Just MHO.
  3. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member
    Saturday February 14, 2015
    Drowning in Plastic

    Listen 11:01

    Full Episode→

    Plastic has been discovered in the most remote parts of the oceans, in undersea sediments and even frozen into Arctic ice. We also know that waste plastic is being accidentally ingested by sea animals, from marine mammals to seabirds to crustaceans, and not to their benefit.

    But the staggering amount of plastic entering the oceans hasn't been well understood until this week, when a team led by Dr. Jenna Jambeck, a professor of environmental engineering at the University of Georgia, and her colleagues, worked it out.

    Based on calculations for the amount of "mismanaged waste" in 192 countries around the world, they estimate that a staggering 8 million metric tons of plastic, in various forms, is finding its way into our oceans every year.

    Related Links

    - Paper in Science
    - AAAS release
    - University of Georgia release
    - CBC News story
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2015
  4. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member
    Global impact of debris on marine life studied

    Date: February 19, 2015

    Source: University of Plymouth

    Summary: Nearly 700 species of marine animal have been recorded as having encountered human-made debris such as plastic and glass according to the most comprehensive impact study in more than a decade.

    Researchers at Plymouth University found evidence of 44,000 animals and organisms becoming entangled in, or swallowing debris, from reports recorded from across the globe.

    Plastic accounted for nearly 92 per cent of cases, and 17 per cent of all species involved were found to be threatened or near threatened on the IUCN Red List, including the Hawaiian monk seal, the loggerhead turtle and sooty shearwater.

    In a paper, The impact of debris on marine life, published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, authors Sarah Gall and Professor Richard Thompson present evidence collated from a wide variety of sources on instances of entanglement, ingestion, physical damage to ecosystems, and rafting -- where species are transported by debris.

    Sarah Gall said: "The impact of debris on marine life is of particular concern, and effects can be wide reaching, with the consequence of ingestion and entanglement considered to be harmful. Reports in the literature began in the 1960s with fatalities being well documented for birds, turtles, fish and marine mammals."

    In total, they found that 693 species had been documented as having encountered debris, with nearly 400 involving entanglement and ingestion. These incidents had occurred around the world, but were most commonly reported off the east and west coasts of North America, as well as Australia and Europe.

    Plastic rope and netting were responsible for the majority of entanglements, with a high number of incidents affecting northern right whales, green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles, and the northern fulmar.

    Plastic fragments were the highest recorded substance for ingestion, with the green sea turtle and northern fulmar again, the Laysan albatross, the Californian seal lion, the Atlantic puffin, and the greater shearwater among the worst affected species.

    "We found that all known species of sea turtle, and more than half of all species of marine mammal and seabird had been affected by marine debris -- and that number has risen since the last major study," said Sarah. "And in nearly 80 per cent of entanglement cases this had resulted in direct harm or death."

    The authors say that while only four per cent of cases involving ingestion were known to have caused harm, further study of sub-lethal impacts are needed, with areas of concern around the impact upon metabolism and reproduction.

    Professor Richard Thompson, who is acknowledged as one of the world's leading experts on microplastics in the marine environment, said: "Encounters with marine debris are of particular concern for species that are recognised to be threatened, and with 17 per cent of all species reported in the paper as near threatened, vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, it is evident that marine debris may be contributing to the potential for species extinction."

    Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by University of Plymouth. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

    Journal Reference: 1.S.C. Gall, R.C. Thompson. The impact of debris on marine life. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.12.041
  5. cuttlefish

    cuttlefish Well-Known Member

  6. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    February 26 2015, 2.45pm EST
    ‘Missing plastic’ in the oceans can be found below the surface

    Julia Reisser
    Oceanographer, PhD candidate researching plastic pollution and sea turtles at University of Western Australia
    Charitha Pattiaratchi
    Professor of Coastal Oceanography at University of Western Australia
    Maira Proietti
    Adjunct professor at Fundação Universidade Federal do Rio Grande

    Julia Reisser received funding and support from the University of Western Australia and CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship. The data reported here was collected aboard sailing vessel Sea Dragon, from Pangaea Exploration. She is now working as an oceanographer at The Ocean Cleanup Foundation.

    Charitha Pattiaratchi receives funding from the Intergrated Marine Observing System and Bushfire Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.

    Maira Proietti received funding from The Rufford Foundation.

    The University of Western Australia
    Provides funding as a Founding Partner of The Conversation AU.

    Trawling for plastic at different depths. Julia Reisser, CC BY-NC-SA
    The world’s ocean contains trillions of plastic fragments coming from packaging, fishing gear and other synthetic objects that break down at sea over time.

    Most of what is known about these ocean plastics comes from surface net sampling, where the top 15cm of water is filtered to collect particles larger than 0.3mm.

    Now we have published the first ever high-resolution depth profiles of ocean plastics in the journal Biogeosciences and data repository Figshare.

    Most of the submerged plastics were very small – less than 1 mm across. Previous studies had noticed that tiny plastics were missing from the oceans.

    We show that at least a fraction of this missing plastic is still adrift at sea, but at depths greater than the surface layer that is usually sampled by scientists.

    A better characterisation of the vertical distribution of marine plastic pollution will improve predictions of plastic loads, particle sizes, and ecological impacts in the world’s oceans.

    Vertical distribution of buoyant plastics

    Buoyant plastics can be pushed underwater by the turbulence created by wind and waves. Models predict that the number of plastic particles decreases abruptly over the first few meters of the water column. However, until now, no subsurface measurements existed to test this prediction.

    We developed a new device that collects samples from the sea surface at 50cm intervals, down to a depth of 5 meters. This device was used to sample one of the world’s major plastic pollution hotspots: the North Atlantic “garbage patch”.

    The area sampled was within the garbage patch – however you chose to define it. Sampling device is pictured on the right. Reisser et al. 2015 Biogeosciences
    Buoyant plastics were concentrated at the sea surface, with both numerical and mass concentrations decreasing exponentially with water depth. Nevertheless, under stronger winds this decrease was less abrupt. Our results match relatively well with those predicted by scientific models.

    Wind shifts plastic away from the surface, but most of the mass stays at this layer. Reisser et al. 2015 Biogeosciences
    Click to enlarge
    Look below the sea surface

    Percentage of hard plastics of different size classes located at depths greater than 0.5 m during sampling at Beaufort scale 1, 3, and 4 Reisser et al. 2015 Biogeosciences

    The speed in which buoyant plastics return to the sea surface after being pushed into deeper waters by turbulence is an important parameter for predicting the depth profiles of marine plastic pollution. We found that smaller plastics present lower rising speeds, being therefore more susceptible to transport into deeper layers.

    Even under light wind conditions, many of the tiniest plastics were still hidden underwater. This indicates that previous studies using surface-only samples are biased towards larger plastic pieces.

    Two major studies last year headed by ocean scientists Andres Cózar and Marcus Eriksen both concluded that there are major losses of small plastics from oceans. We show that at least a fraction of this “missing” plastic is just under the sea surface.

    More at-sea and experimental work is required to further quantify this effect and develop models capable of estimating depth-integrated size distribution of buoyant plastics drifting at sea.

    What’s next?

    Samples of ocean plastics from below the surface are still very scarce. Further multi-level sampling is extremely important to help us estimate how much plastic is actually in our oceans, and understand its ecological impacts.

    Knowing how deep plastics go will help determine the chance of animals inhabiting different depths to encounter and interact with plastic items. For instance, sea birds, turtles, and mammals, which breathe air and use the sea surface for daily activities, present high rates of plastic ingestion and entanglement.

    Fragment of fishing net drifting at sea. Bryce Groark/Alamy
    Ocean plastics are also enhancing ocean drift opportunities and causing damage to biota and habitats. Plastic items harbour organisms such as microbes, invertebrates and fish, which can disperse across oceans and potentially invade non-native habitats.

    We emphasise that estimates on the amounts and impacts of plastic pollution across the oceans, both in coastal and oceanic environments, are urgently required. Such research is crucial to better inform those aiming to reduce the flow of plastics entering this environment, and develop mitigation strategies for this worldwide problem.
  7. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Microplastic particles move up marine food chain on B.C. coast: research

    Decaying plastic is ingested by plankton, which are eaten by fish and whales, according to a new study from the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre

    By Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun June 30, 2015

    Microplastic particles move up marine food chain on B.C. coast: research

    A new study from the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre suggests microplastic particles could pose a serious risk of physical harm to the fish and marine animals that consume them.

    Photograph by: Cam Tucker , PNG

    Plastic fibres and particles in West Coast waters are being consumed and passed up the food chain by tiny marine creatures that apparently mistake them for food, according to a new study from the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre.

    Researcher Peter Ross and his colleagues found plastic litter in the digestive systems of two key species of plankton that are eaten in large numbers by salmon and baleen whales.

    Adult salmon returning to the Strait of Georgia may be consuming up to 91 plastic particles a day by eating plankton, and juveniles leaving fresh water up to seven particles a day, while a humpback whale could ingest more than 300,000 particles a day, according to the researchers’ estimates.

    Several recent studies have documented ingestion of plastics in the wild by fish, bivalves and crustaceans. Plastic particles have also been detected in the scat of marine mammals.

    “Most salmon species feed heavily on (plankton) during their juvenile and adult life stages,” said Ross. “These particles could pose a serious risk of physical harm to the marine animals that consume them, potentially blocking their gut or leaching chemicals into their bodies.”

    Images of dead seabirds with their guts full of plastic particles brought global attention to the problem of microplastics several years ago, Ross said.

    Whether microplastics in the marine food web pose an immediate threat to human health is unknown, but the risk to humans is certainly lower than for marine mammals, he said. The plastics do not pass into the flesh of fin fish, which is the part of the animal we usually consume.

    However, shellfish consumed in their entirety may pose a risk. A 2014 study by Ghent University found that consumers of mussels could be ingesting 11,000 plastic particles a year.

    Barely visible to the eye, the microplastic particles found in plankton result from the breakdown and decay of plastics. Microplastic fibres — commonly found in sewage effluent — likely result from washing clothes made of synthetic fabrics and the decay of fishing and fish-farming gear.

    Plastic pollution is typically higher in ocean waters near population centres, or they may be highly concentrated in mid-ocean waters by circling currents, called gyres.

    The study, which focused on the Strait of Georgia, West Coast Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii and mid-Pacific, found that the concentration of ingested plastics was highest for both species of plankton in the Strait of Georgia, a crucial feeding ground for young fish before they migrate to open water.

    In a previous study, the concentration of microplastics in sea water was as much as 20 times higher in the Strait of Georgia than offshore.

    The study was published this month by the Archive of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.


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    © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
  8. bee15

    bee15 Active Member

    more likely someone dropped it into fish whiilehe wasn't looking for the drama of it all
  9. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member
    A Palate for Plastic

    For the first time, filmmakers capture plankton feasting on polystyrene.

    BY Clara Chaisson | @ClaraChaisson |

    <iframe width="730" height="456" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  10. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

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    agentaqua Well-Known Member

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    agentaqua Well-Known Member

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    agentaqua Well-Known Member

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    agentaqua Well-Known Member

  15. cuttlefish

    cuttlefish Well-Known Member

    Some good news from the Vedder. In a way. Not good that all that trash was left there in the first place.

    Volunteers haul almost 4,000 kg of trash from Chilliwack River Valley
    By Chilliwack Progress
    Published: September 30, 2015 03:00 PM
    Updated: September 30, 2015 03:353 PM
    Almost 4,000 kilograms of trash and metal was carted out of the Chilliwack River Vally on Sunday morning.

    The garbage removal was part of the annual BC Rivers Day efforts to keep the province's waterways clean, in the face of problem polluters.

    About 300 volunteers showed up, willing to get their hands and boots dirty for the cause. They were assigned places to clean and in total found 3,150 kg of garbage, and 730 kg of metal.

    That doesn't even include the items not weighed, like discarded tires, cardboard and other recyclables, deposit bottles, wood, and propane and gas tanks.

    That brings the grand total of garbage collected off the Chilliwack Vedder River since 2002 to just over 100 metric tonnes.

    Chilliwack Hope MLA Laurie Throness was among the volunteers, and was sent to help cleanup one of the "shooter alleys," littered with shotgun shells.

    "I was astounded by the beauty of the scenery," he said. "It's an amazing place and most of it is clean. But my happiness was dampened a little when I got to the dump site, to the thousands of shot gun shells, smashed whiskey bottles."

    He said the province is 93 per cent Crown land, and the government relies on residents to do their part to keep the wilderness free of garbage.

    "There will always be people who want to enjoy the beauty of the CRV and leave their ugliness behind and that's a sad thing," Throness said. "I will always be an advocate for more education and enforcement, and I spoke to environment officials about that as early as last week, and I will continue to advocate for that."

    FVRD Area E Director Orion Engar was also on hand for the cleanup. He noted that in other places, including Germany, littering isn't an issue.

    "Everybody cleans up, and they have competitions between the various communities," to see who can keep their neighbourhoods the cleanest.

    He said Sunday's volunteers were "setting the standard and are the gathering force" in getting more people to start taking care of the environment.

    "Sooner or later this momentum is going to build more and more, to where they're all being as conscious as they are in Germany," Engar noted.

    Chris Gadsden, chairman of the Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society, said he and his committee are "very pleased with a record turnout of volunteers and that there are so many families that are concerned about the welfare of this river watershed.

    "As well getting this garbage off the riparian zone of the river, it prevents it being washed down river to the Fraser and out to the Salish Sea."
  16. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

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