• Join the first marine litter monitoring campaign streamed online and follow the team at sea, on the coast and in the laboratory.

• The 3-day-long activities will be conducted in the recently established MPA of Cape Milazzo in Sicily.

• The research activities, entail beach macrolitter surveys, surveys of floating macrolitter and microlitter, surveys on the presence of macrolitter on the seafloor. The impacts of marine litter on biota will be also investigated.

• This marine litter research expedition is a demonstration of the project’s transferring phase aiming to pass on the knowledge and skills for harmonized marine litter monitoring to Mediterranean MPAs.

 

Despite the fact that marine litter threats to wildlife and ecosystems are becoming increasingly documented and policy advances within the framework of the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive, to the Barcelona Convention Regional Plan for Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean, and the Union for the Mediterranean Ministerial Meetings on Environment and Climate Change and on Blue Economy are favouring developments in the right direction, knowledge gaps still exist concerning the amounts, types, sources, pathways and impacts of marine litter in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas. To address these gaps, the Plastic Busters MPAs project has elaborated and implanted a harmonized approach to monitor marine litter in all environmental compartments and is now reaching out to MPA managers and conservationists across the region to transfer them the acquired knowledge, thus helping them undertake effective, coordinated and targeted actions against marine litter.

On the occasion of the Ocean World Day (8th of June), the Plastic Busters MPAs team goes to Sicily, at the MPA of Cape Milazzo, to carry on with the transferring activities that kicked-off in October 2020, with  beach litter surveys and sampling of beach sediments conducted by the team of ISPRA (Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale). These activities were put on-hold due to the COVID-induced lock-downs and will finally resume from the 8th to the 10th of June with this first summer expedition jointly carried out by managers of the Capo Milazzo MPA and experts fromISPRA, UNISI (Università degli Studi di Siena), SZN (Stazione zoologica Anton Dohrn) and MIO-ECSDE. One of the highlights of the research expedition will be  the live streaming of the field surveys.

The aim of the research campaign is to conduct the first comprehensive assessment of the marine litter problem in the MPA of Capo Milazzo thus addressing gaps for what concerns the amounts, types, sources, impacts and distribution patterns of marine litter in the MPA of Cape Milazzo.

MPA managers & conservationists: save the dates and follow us from home

Are you an MPA manager and conservationist concerned by marine litter? Then join us and follow the Plastic Busters MPAs  live streaming sessions from the MPA of Cape Milazzo. You will  have the unique opportunity to obtain essential knowledge and almost hands-on experience on how to  monitor marine litter. Specifically the detection methodologies for  macrolitter and microlitter  in pelagic and coastal MPAs will be demonstrated, as well as the methodological approach for assessing  the impact of marine litter on marine species, including endangered ones. The featured methodologies are those that have been adopted by the Mediterranean countries within the framework of the EU MSFD monitoring programmes and   the Barcelona Convention Ecosystems Approach process.

Who will benefit?

The MPA of Cape Milazzo will benefit from the monitoring activities that will be conducted on site within its remit as it will receive a comprehensive assessment of the amounts, types, sources, and distribution of macrolitter and microlitter in all its environmental matrices, namely on the coastline, the sea surface, the seafloor and in biota.

Live streaming attendees will benefit from the three live events as they will see the Plastic Busters MPAs project team in action, thus experiencing first hand how marine litter monitoring in the various compartments is realized. The evets will enhance their understanding on how marine litter monitoring methodologies are put into practice, thus easing the eventual application of such methodologies in their own MPAs.

The program:

8th of June: At sea

In this first event, you will have the chance to follow the MPA managers and the experts from ISPRA, UNISI,SZN and MIO-ECSDE while they conduct surveys for floating microlitter and macrolitter in the waters of the MPA of Cape Milazzo. This event will start at 4 pm CET and will last 45 minutes. The deployed methodologies are, manta trawl surveys for microlitter and visual observation of floating macrolitter.

Live streaming: 8th June at 16 pm CET (duration 45 minutes)
Link to the event: register here

9th of June: In the laboratory

This final session will be broadcasted from the ISPRA labs in Milazzo. During this session, you will get the chance to see how the collected samples are prepared and handled in the laboratory, for the subsequent assessment via FTIR of the microplastic presence and discussion on the impact it causes on  biota.

Live streaming: 9th June at 11 am CET (duration 45 minutes)
Link to the event: register here 

10th of June: Investigating the coastline  and the seafloor

In this second event, the managers of the MPA of Cape Milazzo will join experts from ISPRA,  UNISI,SZN and MIO-ECSDE to carry out  beach litter surveys. During this live session, expert divers will also explain how to conduct marine litter surveys on seafloor.

Live streaming: 10th of June at 16 pm CET (duration 1 hour)

Link to the event: register here

What are the next steps?

While the live streaming of this sampling campaign will be completed by the end of the week, activities will still continue to ensure a proper assessment of the marine litter presence and effects in the MPA of Cape Milazzo. On Friday June 11th, a closing event will be organized together with representatives from the MPA and local authorities. During this final event, preliminary results of the monitoring activities conducted in Fall 2020 will be shared and the declaration of the “Plastic Busters Network for tackling marine plastic pollution in the Mediterranean” will be presented. While activities in the MPA of Cape Milazzo will continue throughout the rest of the project duration, you will also have your chance to bring the featured approach to your own MPA if interested. Get in touch with us to learn more about the declaration, how to join the network and how to transfer the project knowledge to your MPA.

If you’re interested in following the live streaming, connect to our facebook page, save the dates and register to the events on our facebook page. 

 

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