The Plastic Busters MPAs project went on its first marine litter research expedition in the Pelagos Sanctuary in the summer of 2018. Researchers of the University of Siena tested a comprehensive monitoring strategy to evaluate the impact of marine litter on endangered fauna dwelling in the Pelagos Sanctuary, a Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance site (SPAMI) and the largest Pelagic Marine Protected area of the Mediterranean Sea.
This pilot expedition tested a methodological approach for the simultaneous investigation of macrolitter and microlitter in the water column, as well as the ingestion of marine litter by cetaceans and pelagic fish. Specifically, this study surveyed dolphins and whales of the Pelagos Sanctuary; flagship megafauna species such as whales, dolphins and sea turtles are considered within the Plastic Busters MPAs project as sentinels of the impact of macrolitter and microliter.
The expedition was carried out in collaboration with the International Center for Environmental Monitoring (CIMA Foundation). The innovative approach of the expedition caught the attention of the South Korean SBS television channel.