A 10-day survey of 25 beaches (mean length of beach surveys - 149 m (162 yd)) on seven different islands (Attu, Agattu, Shemya, Buldir, Kiska, Little Kiska, and Adak) in the outer Aleutian Islands was conducted 12-20Jyly 1988, using the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service's research vessel MV Tiglaxasa base. Sites were randomly selected, and beaches were surveyed for all plastic from sea level to high storm tide level. Representative plastic samples were collected and all beaches photographed. Of the total 3.7 km (2.3 mi) of beach observed, 3,153 plastic objects were counted, representing 67 different finished plastic products. Debris was identified from Japan, the U.S.S.R., South Korea, People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Norway, and the United States. Most prevalent were items from Japan; of those that were identifiable, most were fishing related. A precipitous decline in the Steller's sea lion, Eumetopias jubatus, was noted on Attu Island (77% decrease since 1979), where pinniped surveys were conducted. The results coincide with a reported 65% overall reduction in the western Aleutian Islands population of Steller's sea lions over the past 10 years. Plastics are suspected of contributing to their decline. An adult bull sea lion on Buldir Island was photographed with a strapping band and massive entanglement scar around its neck, with reports of two other entangled, scarred, but live sea lions on Kiska Island, and one on Agattu Island. Some two dozen dead seabirds were discovered during the beach surveys wrapped in plastic although exact cause of death could be ascertained for only one. The Tiglax was temporarily entangled in rope from an apparently active brown king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, pot.There was a statistically significant difference in the amount of plastic found on beaches in protected coves versus that discovered on open, unprotected beaches. There was also a statistically significant difference in fishing-related versus non-fishing-related plastics spotted on the beaches surveyed. If the amount of plastic located on these beaches is at all indicative of that found elsewhere on Alaska's 57,924 km (36,000mi) of shoreline,plastic debris poses a serious potential problem or fish and wildlife.