For Immediate Release

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Progress in Marine Protection Hampered by Rising Sea Pollution

MADRID - On the occasion of World Oceans Day today, 8 June, Oceana warns of the detrimental impact rubbish dumping and waste pollution is having on the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. Such continued misuse of the world’s oceans as a dumping ground is hampering global conservation efforts to protect marine habitats and to restore depleted fish stocks. Oceana has witnessed the extent of ocean pollution in deep-sea areas during its many science-based expeditions at sea.

Oceana Europe’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) enables its scientists to scour the oceans, filming and studying the health and wellbeing of seas and marine wildlife. From cans to computers, and bicycles to broken glass bottles - trails of litter can be found hundreds of metres down in the ocean, even in supposedly protected areas. Unearthing these scenes through the eye of the ROV in never-before explored areas reveals the damning extent of pollution in our seas.


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“World Oceans Day is all about celebrating our oceans and their contribution to our lives in whatever shape or form that may be – be it your livelihood, your free time or even your next meal. But we cannot continue to treat our seas as an out-of-sight, out-of-mind dumping ground. Both threatened and commercial species are severely impacted by litter making its way from land to sea, and so we call on politicians and citizens to take corrective action today”, said Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe, on the occasion of World Oceans Day.

Oceana’s expeditions in Europe show that marine litter is widespread in European seas, and found in every ROV dive. A combination of cold temperatures and lack of sunlight slow down plastic degradation and extend its impact on deep-sea fauna that tend to grow slowly and have low reproduction rates. This worrying problem is often overlooked in reports on plastic pollution, which tend to focus on waste floating on the sea surface or in shallow waters.

Forkbeard and blackbelly rosefish surrounded by garbage at more than 500m deep. Spain © OCEANA

Loggerhead turtle with a sack wrapped around its leg.  Malta. OCEANA © LIFE BaĦAR for N2K

Rubbish bin and other waste on the seabed. Sweden © OCEANA/ Carlos Minguell

Official World Oceans Day site


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Oceana is the largest international ocean conservation and advocacy organization. Oceana works to protect and restore the world’s oceans through targeted policy campaigns.

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