Clean Harbor Initiative
Cape Ann Maritime Partnership
Gloucester is our country’s oldest seaport, with a reputation for loving and respecting the ocean. Like many other harbors around the world, Gloucester, and other Cape Ann communities, have seen first hand the effects of marine debris on the local economy, landscape, and worst of all, marine life and habitats. Numerous organizations have come together to address this growing issue through a new collaboration effort called Cape Ann Maritime Partnership. Through this team effort, the following organizations have joined together under the fiscal sponsorship of Seaside Sustainability to raise funds, conduct research, collect data and provide educational opportunities to the local Cape Ann community:
One Ocean One Love Shop
NOAA Marine Debris Program
Gloucester Clean city Commission
United States Coast Guard
The Seabin project
What is the problem?
An excerpt from a New Zealand Journal from the School of Geography, Geology, Environmental Science (SGGES) sums up the issue of marine debris as it affects marine waters on a global scale:
"Over the past five or six decades, contamination and pollution of the world’s enclosed seas, coastal
waters and the wider open oceans by plastics and other synthetic, non-biodegradable materials
(generally known as ‘marine debris’) has been an ever-increasing phenomenon. The sources of
these polluting materials are both land- and marine-based, their origins may be local or distant,
and the environmental consequences are many and varied. The more widely recognized problems
are typically associated with entanglement, ingestion, suffocation and general debilitation, and
are often related to stranding events and public perception. Among the less frequently recognized
and recorded problems are global hazards to shipping, fisheries and other maritime activities.
Today, there are rapidly developing research interests in the biota attracted to freely floating (i.e.
pelagic) marine debris, commonly known as ‘hangers-on and hitch-hikers’ as well as material sinking
to the sea floor despite being buoyant. Dispersal of aggressive alien and invasive species by these
mechanisms leads one to reflect on the possibilities that ensuing invasions could endanger sensitive,
or at-risk coastal environments (both marine and terrestrial) far from their native habitats."
Murray R. Gregory, Environmental Implications of Plastic Debris in Marine Settings
We have one goal in mind: eradicate marine pollution. This issue affects our economy, our landscapes, and worst of all, helpless marine life. In order to attack this problem, we are going to come at the issue from multiple directions. Reports tell us that as much as 80 percent of our ocean’s debris comes from land, so in addition to collecting debris out of the water, we will be gathering data on the types and locations of this debris to be able to analyze the types and sources of pollutants. This will serve to guide placement of future collection devices, as well as guide policy and mitigation techniques in an attempt to minimize the litter and pollutants before they even make it to the water. To serve this educational piece, we have strategically chosen the placement locations of the Seabin and the Skimmer so that they can become a part of the Maritime Gloucester education program, engaging the entire Gloucester Harbor community, from children & families, to tourists, to locals of the city, new and old.
- Prevent marine debris from entangling or being ingested by marine life
- Increase tourism and boost the visual appeal of Cape Ann by cleaning up seascapes, beaches and other coastal landscapes
- Boost local fishing economy by increasing the health of their catches
- Protect human health by minimizing the amount of microplastics entering our food chain.
- Provide effective educational tools to raise awareness and create community engagement in combating the marine debris issue
How will we address it?
Two prototypes specializing in marine-surface trash collection will be installed in Gloucester Harbor to reduce marine pollution and inform a long-term mitigation plan. The aim of the project is to try out two collection prototypes for one year to determine which is most apt to collect surface litter in Gloucester Harbor over the long term. The Seabin and Marine Skimmer will collect marine pollution 24/7, all year long, and will enable us to collect data on what’s actually making it to the water, and inform new strategies to mitigate accumulation of those products most commonly ending up in the water from onshore littering. The strategic placement of these two prototype collection devices will also serve to educate the public on the origins and impacts of marine-surface litter on the local marine environment.
TheSeabin is a floating rubbish bin that is located in the water at marinas, docks, yacht clubs and commercial ports. The Seabin moves up and down with the range of tide collecting all floating rubbish. Water is sucked in from the surface and passes through the catch bag inside the Seabin. The water is then pumped back into the marina leaving litter and debris trapped in the catch bag to be disposed of properly. (www.seabinproject.com)
Marine Skimmer Prototype
The MTS works quietly 24 hours a day to contain unsightly floating debris, plastic and organic matter, but also aids in improving the water quality throughout the marina by providing a continuous mixing of the normally low flowing water. An absorbent bilge pad can also be installed to absorb oil sheen waste further improving marina water quality. (www.marinatrashskimmer.com)
Once the Seabin and Marine Skimmer are installed we will collect and compare data from each product until May 2018. Based on our decision as to which product is superior for our local needs, we will move forward with the purchase and installation of several more units in all corners of Cape Ann including Rockport, Essex, Magnolia, Gloucester, Annisquam, and Manchester. Our goal is to lead the Massachusetts Bay area towards a marine debris-free future in New England.