Beach litter survey in the Far Eastern Marine Reserve

Beach litter survey in the Far Eastern Marine Reserve

From 3 to 6 August, a few specialists of the Primorsky Aquarium made a beach litter survey on the sandbar of Cape Ostrovok Falshivy in the southern part of the Far Eastern Marine Reserve.

The marine litter survey was undertaken in the framework of the Ocean Without Borders project which has been carried out with support from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Primorsky region since 2014. The project is a part of international program for monitoring marine litter on the shores of the northwestern Pacific Ocean and involves participants from China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

The coast of the Marine Reserve fascinates with astonishing beauty of its bays and unpleasantly surprises with debris on its beaches. There is no public access to the Reserve, and all the litter is transported there by ocean currents. The southern part of the Reserve is located near the Russian borders with China and North Korea. The sandbar connecting Cape Ostrovok Falshivy with the mainland lies on the open coast, and the litter found there is both of local and foreign origin.

During the survey period a beach area of 300 square meters was monitored. The specialists of the Primorsky Aquarium followed the internationally used methodology which included weighing and sorting out litter according to its categories and the country of origin and photo documentation of all survey stages. The litter analysis showed that more than two thirds of the plastic wastes such as bags, bottles and twine came from Russian sources while the polystyrene wastes contained fishing buoys used by North Korean fishermen.

Being a collaborative environmental project of the Far Eastern Marine Reserve and the Primorsky Aquarium the survey was actively supported by the Heads of these branches of the National Scientific Center of Marine Biology. The successful cooperation gives an excellent opportunity to annually conduct beach litter monitoring in the Marine Reserve and remove marine debris from its shores.

The survey results report will be submitted to the Primorsky Region Administration and to the Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center (Japan) to develop measures against marine littering.