Posted by: Miriam Goldstein | November 2, 2010

Across the Pacific

I just got back from sampling the North Pacific Gyre with NOAA. We found visible plastic every day in the manta tows once we had entered the North Pacific High, which is the “Garbage Patch” area. The bridge watch also sighted some interesting floating trash – a lime green suitcase was the most unusual – though we weren’t quick enough to get a photo of it.

Brief daily updates about cruise activities were posted here, along with a fine selection of pretty pictures. And I’m always a big fan of science ship fashion – the combination of orange hardhat/workvest and blue-and-yellow boots is TOTALLY going to be the next big thing. (Though can I get a work vest designed to actually fit female anatomy? Please?)

Manta net towed under full moon

Manta net towed off the Okeanos Explorer. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

Miriam washes down the manta net

Washing down the manta net dressed in my finest. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.


  1. I am one of the docents for the new Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef at NMNH in DC. Part of the reef is made from plastic “yarn” and other trash to teach people about what is happening to the ocean and coral because of the plastic and other trash in the ocean. I am going to refer people to Seaplex on line so they can see for themselves what is happening and what the trash looks like and how it is destroying sealife.

    Thank s to you and your colleagues for your work.

    • Hello Andrea,

      Thanks for your comment, and for your great work at NMNH. I hope I can make it to DC to see the Crochet Coral Reef myself. Another great resource on marine debris is the NOAA Marine Debris Program website.

  2. Due to my thesis in design i could not withstand to stick my nose into the marine debris issue even if i started to think about future consumption strategies while looking onto it from different angles.

    So I would like to spend some time for researching on harvest strategies.

    Can you give me some insights on that?

    Do you use geometry based filtering processes or other physical, bionical effects to catch debris but leave liveforms apart?

    Where there concepts which totally failed?

    I ask because if I start i dont want to reinvent a fourcorning stone which was intended to be a wheel one day.

    Best regards ralph

  3. Hi Miriam,

    If more than 80% of what we are finding in ocean samples is plastic, then why are we still calling it marine debris?

    Why don’t we call it what it is:

    It is Plastic Pollution.

    And the best solution which we can all participate in right now, is to refuse to buy disposable and single use plastic items or wrapped products.
    Great information and ideas for alternatives at:

    Join the Coalition. Good luck with your research and keep up the great work!

  4. I Just bookmarked this post and I will surely be coming back again. Great



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