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Expedition Report 2020

Read about our Ghost Fishing awareness program and other environmental educational and research on our Blog

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Research Dives.

Our survey results between January 2018 and October 2019 showed that snagged fishing tackle from recreational fishing does pose a Ghost Fishing threat to inshore reef fish.

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Watch a video from the Strandloper Project

 

 

Recovered tackle

 

Strandloper Project Play list.

If you have just learnt about the Strandloper Project and want to find out more, watch this play list of videos of our research since January 2018.

 

 
     
 

Research Expedition 2020
Finding a solution for recreational fishing pollution

 

Gericke's Point

 

Expedition 2020.

Our 2020 Expedition was challenging with long sections of the coastline comprising steep rock slopes which dropped directly from the coastal plateau down to the shoreline. We split our expedition into two stages, the first between Nature's Valley to Wilderness and the second stage from Storms River to Nature's Valley, a total of 205km.

 

Coastline

 

Mapping Washed up Plastic

We again utilized our established survey methods of Dirty Dozen transects every 5km, plastic bottle surveys every 2km and incidental surveys of marine mammals, plastic and African Black Oyster Catchers.. We included a field in our incidental sightings for sightings and evidence of Cape Clawless Otters.

 

SPE Nurdles

Nurdle Spill

Without a doubt, the most significant find along the entire expedition was that of washed up nurdles. We first recorded nurdles on the 2nd of October 2020 and then recorded substantial densities on Robberg Beach on the 5th October. The nurdle slick then washed up along the coastline as far as False Bay over the next 10 days.

Post expedition research revealed that approximately 6 containers of nurdles were lost at sea around mid August 2020, making this one of the top three largest nurdle spills globally.

 

Nurdles spill

 

Secluded beaches for Cape Clawless Otters

Our sightings of Cape Clawless Otters were restricted to remote beaches that have low human activities. Though we didn't see any otters, we did record 44 sightings of scat and spoor.

 

Kleinkrans Beach

 

Rivers of Plastic

As with our 2019 expedition findings, the primary source of plastic was terrestrial based, flowing into the ocean from rivers, being swept along the coastline and washing up on the shoreline. High concentrations of plastic were associated with rivers that were open, with cleaner sections of beaches between rivers that were closed to the ocean by a sand bar.

The highest concentration of washed up plastic was between Buffalo Bay and Wilderness, with high densities in Goukamma Nature Reserve and between Kleinkrans and Wilderness. The suspected source of plastic is the Muelen River from George, west of Wilderness.

 

Dirty Dozen survey

 

COVID Restrictions

A large component of our expeditions is public awareness of the role of plastic in daily life and the responsibility to reduce the use of plastic, and where it is essential to use plastic, to strive to recycle or reuse it.

 

Lockdown conditions and the limitation on group meetings meant that we were unable to engage with school groups and members of the public. To over come this, we engaged on social media through our Facebook and Instagram platforms. We also had live tracking with a Spot Tracker so that our progress along the coastline could be monitored.

We will again utilize our Cyber Tracker App, which we developed, for recording both plastic pollution, fishing debris and stranded marine animals.

 

Public awareness

 

Municipal Engagement.

Using our collected data, the Strandloper Project has been able to supply local interest groups with information to pressure, in particular, the George Municipality to better manage both the Skaapkop and Meulins Rivers.

While the situation impacting the poor condition of these two rivers has not been satisfactorily resolved, collective pressure is being applied to that end.

Dirty Dozen plastic

 

 
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