Plastic Pollution
November 13 2013

Plastic - It’s What’s For Dinner

by Bill Hickman

If you are a lanternfish in of the five subtropical gyres, chances are you are chomping down on bits of plastic as part of your diet.  While lanternfish are small and there are very few commercial fisheries, they are a major food source for many marine animals.  While plastic ingestion is a big enough problem on it's own, add the fact that plastics can adsorb toxins that could bioaccumulate, and we really need to take a look at the impacts of plastic pollution.

Scientists were researching plastic pollution at sea and found less plastic debris in their surface trawls than expected.  Check out this presentation to see what they found and where the missing plastic might be...

It's a good presentation and you can forward to the 31 minute mark for the beginning of the lanternfish info. reported on the lecture and stated, "The fish, which are found in the ocean's gyres, come to the surface to feed at night, where they ingest the plastic particles which resemble the size of their usual prey.  Several samples of the myctophids uncovered significant loads of plastic the size of appropriate particles inside the guts of the animal."  UWA Oceans Institute director Carlos Duarte concluded,  "We believe these organisms may hold part of the response to where is the plastic going, because … they are the dominant species in the gyres of the ocean."

In 2009, Two lanternfish were collected along with several bits of plastic during a trawl on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography SEAPLEX voyage.  Click Here for the photo.