Stewardship Monday: Food or Flotsam?

We hope that this month as we celebrate keeping our coastline clean that there isn’t any debris washing into the ocean. But, as we all know, there is already plenty of pollution in the water, swirling around in the gyres. This past Saturday, our friends at Project Kaisei joined the Canoes in Sloughs clean-up around Bair Island. Their project focuses on researching and building awareness about the garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean. Click here to visit their website and follow their journey!

Many organizations and groups like Project Kaisei have shown us that the debris in the water can be as big as shipping containers and as small as plankton. Some of this flotsam (drifting debris) can look a lot like food. Turtles that eat jellies may get a mouthful of plastic bag; planktivores like whales and jellies can end up stuffed with tiny microplastics; birds that skim the water’s surface can end up with bellies full of junk! These animals often can’t tell what’s food or flotsam—can you?

A baby albatross with a stomach full of trash.

A copepod among plastic fibers in a plankton sample.

Learn more about the impact of marine debris with the following tools:

You can still take part in Coastweeks with the final event hosted by MSI. Join us on the Nurdle Patrol on October 4 at Crissy Field with our partners at the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Association. Click the photo below for more information:


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