Plastic gathered from remote corners of the South Pacific Ocean, including nesting areas of New Zealand albatrosses, has confirmed the global threat of plastic pollution to seabirds.
Published in the journal ‘Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems’, the study looks for patterns in the plastics seabirds from around the South Pacific ingest.
It uses data gathered by Canterbury Museum Senior Curator Natural History Dr Paul Scofield and Wellington ornithologist Christopher Robertson in the late 1990s and 2000s.
“Plastic pollution is a major threat to seabird species, not just here in New Zealand but around the world,” says Dr Scofield. “Knowing more about how seabirds interact with plastic might help us solve this problem in the future. At the moment, it’s only getting worse.”
Christopher Robertson, co-author of the study says, “One of the interesting takeaways from this study is that it shows you just how far plastic can travel in the ocean. Some of the areas where we collected the plastic are very remote. To me, that shows that this is a global issue; it’s not something a single country can solve on its own.”
“The samples provided by our colleagues from New Zealand allowed us to assess the patterns of seabird-plastic interactions on a larger scale, across the entire South Pacific Ocean,” says the study’s lead author, Valeria Hidalgo-Ruz from the Chilean Millenium Nucleus Centre of Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands.
“The results confirm that even seabirds in one of the most remote areas of the world, the Rapa Nui (Easter