Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography

In Press

C.K. Pham, J.N. Gomes-Pereira, E.J. Isidro, R.S. Santos, T. Morato, Abundance of litter on Condor seamount (Azores, Portugal, Northeast Atlantic), Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, Available online 15 January 2013, ISSN 0967-0645, 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.01.011.
Abstract: Marine litter is an emerging problem for the world’s ocean health but little is known on its distribution and abundance on seamounts and how it affects deep-sea ecosystems. The scientific underwater laboratory set up on Condor seamount offered an ideal case study for the first documentation of litter distribution on a shallow seamount with historical fishing. A total of 48 video transects deployed on the summit (n=45) and the northern flank (n=3) covered an area of 0.031 and 0.025 km2, respectively, revealing 55 litter items. Litter density on the summit was 1439 litter items km−2, whilst on the deeper northern flank, estimates indicate densities of 397 litter items km−2. Lost fishing line was the dominant litter item encountered on both areas (73% of total litter on the summit and 50% on northern flank), all being entirely or partly entangled in the locally abundant gorgonians Dentomuricea cf. meteor and Viminella flagellum. Other items included lost weights, anchors and glass bottles. The predominance of lost fishing gear identifies the source of litter on Condor seamount as exclusively ocean-based and related to fishing activities. Abundance of litter on the Condor seamount was much lower than that reported from other locations closer to populated areas.
Keywords: Seamount; Deep sea; Litter; Condor