The main component of sea-based sources of marine plastic pollution is abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear, also referred to as ghost gear. Fishing gear accounts for approximately 10 per cent of global marine plastic pollution though in some regions it is closer to half the overall mass in our oceans and seas.
Plastic pollution can now be found everywhere, from the remote shores of the Arctic to the deepest parts of the ocean. Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic leak into the marine environment annually, harming biodiversity and posing a threat to food security, sustainability and human health.
Today we release, with partner Greenpeace, the new report ‘Checking Out on Plastics II: Breakthroughs and backtracking from supermarkets’, revealing that seven of the top 10 supermarkets had increased the plastic packaging they use, also known as their ‘plastic footprint’.
The illegal trade in totoaba fish maws is rapidly driving the vaquita marina to extinction. This small rare porpoise endemic to Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California is collateral damage in the pursuit of huge profits by organised criminal networks that sell totoaba swim bladders in Asian markets, primarily China.