Status and future recommendations for recording and monitoring litter on the Arctic seafloor

Type Article
Date 2023-06
Language English
Author(s) Grøsvik Bjørn Einar1, Buhl-Mortensen Lene2, Bergmann Melanie3, Booth Andy M.4, Gomiero Alessio5, Galgani FrancoisORCID6
Affiliation(s) 1 : Institute of Marine Research, 115347, Bergen, Norway
2 : Institute of Marine Research, 115347, Bergen, Norway
3 : Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, 84597, Bremerhaven, Germany
4 : SINTEF Ocean, 555971, SINTEF Sealab, Brattørkaia 17 C, Trondheim, Norway
5 : NORCE, Department of Climate and Environment, Stavanger, Norway
6 : Ifremer, Department of Oceanography and Ecosystem dynamics, Bastia, France
Source Arctic Science (2368-7460) (Canadian Science Publishing), 2023-06 , Vol. 9 , N. 2 , P. 345-355
DOI 10.1139/AS-2022-0017
Keyword(s) Circumpolar, Plastic pollution, Sea bed, Standardization, Harmonization

Marine litter in the Arctic Basin is influenced by transport from Atlantic and Pacific waters. This highlights the need for harmonization of guidelines across regions. Monitoring can be used to assess temporal and spatial trends but can also be used to assess if environmental objectives are reached, for example to evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation measures. Seafloor monitoring by trawling needs substantial resources and specific sampling strategies to be sufficiently robust to demonstrate changes over time. Observation and visual evaluation in shallow and deep waters using towed camera systems, ROVs and submersibles are well suited for the Arctic environment. The use of imagery still needs to be adjusted through automation and image analyses, including deep learning approaches and data management, but will also serve to monitor areas with a rocky seafloor. We recommend developing a monitoring plan for seafloor litter by selecting representative sites for visual inspection that cover different depths and substrata in marine landscapes, and recording the litter collected or observed across all forms of seafloor sampling or imaging. We need better coverage and knowledge of status of seafloor litter for the whole Arctic and recommend initiatives to be taken for regions where such knowledge is lacking.

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