Photos: Greenpeace Collects Plastic In Sargasso

May 7, 2024 | 5 Comments

Greenpeace campaigners collected more than 300 plastic pieces during a five-day expedition in the Sargasso Sea.

A spokesperson said, “Campaigners from Greenpeace UK have retrieved hundreds of pieces of plastic from clusters of seaweed floating in the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean. They spent the last five days on board the Arctic Sunrise crossing the sea to launch a campaign to create a global network of marine sanctuaries under the Global Ocean Treaty.

“The ship crew made an unplanned stop to look inside a patch of sargassum seaweed – the golden algae that forms gigantic floating mats and gives the Sargasso Sea its name. Although this was a comparatively small mat, they retrieved more than 300 pieces of plastic in just 30 minutes including bottle caps, disposable lighters, buoys, shoes, childrens’ toys and dozens of smaller scraps in the process of breaking down into microplastics.”

Briony Venn, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said, “As soon as the sargassum came into view from the ship’s bridge, we saw large pieces of plastic debris tangled inside it. On closer inspection, every clump of seaweed contained a panoply of plastic pollution, from bottle caps to disposable cutlery.

“Plastic is just one of the threats facing the Sargasso along with industrial fishing, increased shipping and climate change. The UK has an opportunity to help protect this golden floating rainforest by ratifying the Global Ocean Treaty as soon as possible, and by working with other governments to champion the Sargasso Sea as the world’s first high seas ocean sanctuary under the Treaty.”

The spokesperson said, “The sargassum species of seaweed is unique to the Sargasso Sea where it provides a vital habitat for 10 species of crab, fish, shrimp and other creatures that are found nowhere else. It also provides a nursery for baby sea turtles and a vital source of food for seabirds on their epic migrations across the Atlantic Ocean.

“The crew also stopped to pull a metre-wide tangle of ‘ghost gear’ – discarded rope and fishing gear – from the water where it could have snarled sea turtles, seabirds and other marine animals.

“This first leg of the voyage has helped to document the vast array of animals living in the Sargasso. The crew recorded humpback and pilot whales, dolphins and a wide variety of fish and seabirds. At one point, a pod of at least 20 pilot whales surrounded the ship, and several humpback whales accompanied the Arctic Sunrise into Bermuda.

“The crew also used a hydrophone – an underwater microphone – and DNA sampling techniques to provide insights into the distribution and migration patterns of whales, dolphins and other marine animals. Two seabird conservationists from Bermuda joined the voyage and recorded more than 10 species including some frequent visitors to the UK such as Manx and Great Shearwaters, Leach’s Petrels and Arctic Skuas.

“Industrial fishing fleets pose a major threat to marine ecosystems like this because they drag longlines through the sea which inadvertently hook marine mammals, turtles, seabirds and sharks. Increased shipping and the prospect of deep sea mining also cast a shadow over the future of this ecosystem.

“Since most of the Sargasso Sea lies in the high seas, outside national borders, tools for restricting human activity here have been extremely limited. The Global Ocean Treaty agreed in March last year makes it possible for governments to create sanctuaries on the high seas – like national parks at sea – where marine life can recover and thrive.

“Greenpeace UK is calling on the UK government to ratify this Treaty into national law before the General Election, and to work with other governments in the region to propose the Sargasso Sea as the world’s first high seas sanctuary under the Treaty. This, alongside a Global Plastics Treaty that cuts plastic production and ends single-use plastic, would go a long way towards protecting the sea.”


Oceanic Trigger Fish under Sargassum

Trigger Fish under Sargassum


Plastic in Sargassum


MY Arctic Sunrise in the Atlantic Ocean

Short finned pilot whales

Plastic found in the Sargasso Sea

Plastic found in the Sargasso Sea

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale

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Comments (5)

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  1. Hilarious! says:

    WOW! 300 pieces of plastic collected over 5 days! That averages 60 pieces a day. Working say 8 hours a day collecting, 7.5 pieces per hour in the ocean. WOW! Over how many square miles?

    I wonder how many pieces of plastic the Greenpeace crew and personnel used on their boat during those 5 days. How much evil fossil fuel was burned to power the vessel?

    And not one member of Greenpeace can define “climate change.”

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “And not one member of Greenpeace can define “climate change.””

      Perhaps not, but the European Court of Human Rights has recognised that climate change exists and that the Swiss government’s “efforts to meet its emission reduction targets had been woefully inadequate”.


      • Hilarious! says:

        Totally irrelevant. As you should know, since you know everything, the experts with Ph.Ds at NOAA, NASA, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), and the UK’s The Met CANNOT AGREE on one definition of “climate change.” Why is that? Oh, wait, we had similar discussions in the past that you lack subject matter expertise along with your refusal to answer simple questions.

        But somehow the judges/members of the European Court of Human Rights know all about “climate change.” That whale don’t swim.

        Try again.

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          “you lack subject matter expertise along with your refusal to answer simple questions”

          If you say so. From my perspective, I have simply accepted that you have your opinion and nothing anyone can say is going to change your mind. That is your right and I am respecting it.

          • Hilarious! says:

            The first rule of humility is recognizing that you are wrong. The second rule is accepting being wrong. The third rule is to move on.

            I respect your right to post uninformed opinions/comments on a subject that you have zero expertise in. Just stop posting your uninformed comments as rebuttals to my factual comments because you want to see your comments online.

            Your expertise seems to be in political commentary as if you have inside information on the Government. Kudos. Stick to what you are good at.

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