The video was launched during PAME's participation at the #APP4SEA2020 online conference, more here at PAME's keynote speech.
PAME’s capsule containing a GPS transmitter travelled several thousand kilometres from Iceland to Scotland – highlighting how marine litter can travel.
Maps and images are free to use by all.
PAME‘s Plastic in a Bottle capsule travelled around 7.000 kilometers in 207 days before washing on shore in the Isle of Tiree, Scotland today 6 April 2020. The aim of this project is to simulate how marine litter and plastics can be expected to travel far distances into and out of Arctic waters. The capsule was tracked on a live map for the whole journey.
This first plastic in a bottle was sent off the Reykjanes peninsula by Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Iceland’s Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources from the Icelandic Coast Guard vessel Thor in conjunction with the PAME II-2019 Working Group meeting in Reykjavík on 12 September 2019. Iceland holds the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council until 2021 and places a special focus on marine litter and plastics in the Arctic.
It was retrieved by Hayley Douglas on April 6th 2020 (pictured).
The map showed how the capsule travelled from Iceland, up to Greenland where it circulated for a while, going further south towards Newfoundland, before heading east. It looked like it would reach the shore on South Uist in Scotland, but went on and washed up – notably without its yellow foam coat which was for protection – in Tiree.
This is the second capsule that Verkís has sent out which ends up on the coast of the Isle of Tiree. The beautiful beaches there probably may have some litter originating in Iceland!
PAME will be releasing more capsules, the next one will be in conjunction with a project by the Netherlands. That project is scheduled for the summer of 2020.
About the project:
PAME‘s (Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group of the Arctic Council) launched the first bottle equipped with a GPS transmitter into the Atlantic on 12 September 2019. Called “plastic in a bottle”, the capsule will simulate how marine litter and plastics travel far distances into and out of Arctic waters. The collected data will feed into a regional action plan on marine litter and serve as an outreach tool to create awareness around the growing concerns on marine litter in the Arctic.
The bottles were designed and built by Icelandic engineering firm Verkís. Every day, the GPS transmitter sends a signal allowing viewers to follow the journey of the bottle in real time through an online map on the PAME website.
The Arctic Council's Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment(PAME) today launched its first Arctic Shipping Status Report. PAME expects to issue such Reports on a regular basis to facilitate awareness of and share information about Arctic shipping activities. PAME will use its Arctic Ship Traffic Data (ASTD) System to generate these Arctic Shipping Status Reports.
The Report released today provides information on general Arctic shipping trends between 2013 and 2019 and shows how much Arctic ship traffic has increased. For example, the Report shows that during this six-year period, the number of ships entering the Arctic grew by 25%, and the distance sailed by ships in the Arctic increased by 75%.
The Meeting Report contains a summary of the meeting, a list of the meeting participants, the final agenda, a list of documents and the meetings decisions.
Click here to download the report.
PAME releases first capsule containing a GPS transmitter to simulate how marine litter travels across the ocean
The Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) Working Group launched the first bottle equipped with a GPS transmitter into the Atlantic today 12 September. Called “plastic in a bottle”, the capsule will simulate how marine litter and plastics travel far distances into and out of Arctic waters. The collected data will serve as an outreach tool to create awareness around the growing concerns on marine litter in the Arctic. This first plastic in a bottle was sent off from the Reykjanes peninsula by Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Iceland’s Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources from the Icelandic Coast Guard vessel Thor in conjunction with the PAME Working Group meeting in Reykjavík. Iceland currently holds the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council until 2021 and places a special focus on marine litter and plastics in the Arctic.
The saying “out of sight, out of mind” does not apply to litter that has made their way into the ocean. Currents, streams, waves and wind carry marine litter across the seas. Neither the deep sea nor beaches in the Arctic are exempt from this pollution. However, when it comes to how plastics travel into and out of Arctic waters, our knowledge on the trajectories of this marine litter remains limited. With this capsule PAME is seeking to gain valuable information to better understand this problem.
Over the next few months PAME will be launching more capsules from different locations across the Arctic. The capsules were designed and built by Icelandic engineering firm Verkís. Every day, the GPS transmitter sends a signal allowing viewers to follow the journey of the bottle in real time through an online map on the PAME website. “Our aim is to show how expansively marine litter and plastics can travel and to gain a better understanding of how plastics that originate from far away end up on shores in the Arctic. The project is also a great outreach tool to create awareness around the issue of marine litter and plastics in the Arctic”, said Soffía Guðmundsdóttir, PAME’s Executive Secretary.
The PAME Working Group aims at releasing the remaining capsules in different areas across the Arctic. “We have discussed different areas with experts on oceanography and meteorology and a leading expert in Iceland on ocean currents. According to them, one could not expect an object like the plastic capsules could travel long distances to certain areas with ocean currents. Weather and waves may have substantial effects on the capsules in addition to currents,” explained Soffía.
The first bottle has now embarked on its journey with a proper send-off. At the launch, of the 1st capsule the Iceland’s Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, said:
“Plastics in the oceans is a growing problem. Therefore, it is essential to enhance knowledge on how marine litter travels around the oceans worldwide. The Plastic in a bottle project will give us an important insight in that regard as well as increasing our awareness about plastics in the oceans. Reducing marine litter, in particular plastics, is one of my priorities as a Minister and we have already initiated many actions and are planning even more to that regard. Iceland has also focused on the topic internationally, including within the Arctic Council and our Chairmanship. I believe that is very important.”
Tackling the issue of marine litter and especially plastics in the Arctic is one of the Arctic Council’s priorities during Iceland’s Chairmanship. At the end of its Chairmanship in May 2021, Iceland plans to provide a comprehensive regional action plan on marine litter and plastics in the Arctic to the Ministers of the Arctic Council.
PAME worked closely together with Verkís in developing the bottles. Verkís has been involved in similar projects in the past and has seen its bottles travel thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean for well over a year – reaching Norway, Scotland and the Faroe Islands after being released from Iceland.
“Verkís is thrilled to take part in conveying such an important message across. We have previously been involved in similar projects with the aim of highlighting how marine litter travels and causes problems across the oceans. One of our capsules travelled over 5000 kilometers and washed ashore in northern Norway, six months later,” Arnór Þórir Sigurðsson, Animal Ecologist at Verkís said.
Once washed ashore, a message inside the bottle will instruct the finder what to do with the bottle.
The live map is online here.
The project gratefully acknowledges funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers.
“In a special coverage, National Geographic explores the consequences of the Arctic warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, writes editor in chief Susan Goldberg on National Geographic Arctic overage in its September 2019 issue - released online this week.
The issue has multiple Arctic related stories, and one of them on Arctic shipping utilizes data from the ASTD database in its coverage.
PAME has worked closely with National Geographic in utilising the data for the issue.
Among other topics are permafrost, Arctic land claims, Arctic science and Inuit lives in an ice-melting world.
Registration and call for abstracts for International Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic Region
Reykjavik, 21-23 April 2020
Call for Abstracts is now open and a direct link to the abstract submissions form is here. The deadline for abstract submissions is 1 December 2019.
Registration is now open and a direct link to the registration site is here. The deadline for an early bird registration is 30 September 2019.
Iceland holds both the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council from May 2019 to May 2021 and the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2019. During these two presidencies Iceland intends to promote discussion on ways and means that may reduce the impact of plastics in the Marine Environment, with a special focus on the Arctic Ocean. This emphasis will be reflected in the work of the Arctic Council during the period where Iceland intends to stage an international symposium on plastics in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic region in Reykjavik from 21-23 April 2020.
The symposium will be co-hosted by the Government of Iceland and the Nordic Council of Ministers in collaboration with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), UNEP, OSPAR, IOC UNESCO, IASC, Harvard Kennedy School and PAME, a working group of the Arctic Council. The symposium is expected to provide a most relevant update on plastics in the region, its impact on the marine environment and possible solutions.
The symposium program outline, registration and call for abstracts can be found on the symposium website: www.arcticplastics2020.is
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Press Release 4 June 2019
Today, the Arctic Council’s Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum (the Forum) convened for the third time since its inception in 2017, and for the first time since Iceland assumed Chairmanship of the Arctic Council last month.
The purpose of the Forum is to support the effective implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code). This is accomplished by collecting and posting on a dedicated Web Portal authoritative information relevant to all those involved in safe and environmentally sound Arctic shipping, including shipowners and operators, regulators, classification societies, marine insurers, and indigenous and local communities.
‘From Theory to Practice’ is the theme of this year’s Forum meeting with presentations oriented around practical experiences in implementing the Polar Code with a particular focus on successes, impediments, and remaining challenges.
The Web Portal, accessible at www.arcticshippingforum.is, provides links to carefully selected, reliable information essential to implementation of and compliance with the Polar Code. For example, links are available on hydrographic, meteorological, and ice data information needed to plan for safe and environmentally sound navigation in the Arctic.
Information for the Web Portal has been contributed by many stakeholders, including Arctic States, intergovernmental organizations, classification societies, the shipping industry, marine insurers, and non-governmental organizations. The Web Portal is regularly updated and expanded as new information becomes available.
The Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum was established in 2017 by the eight Arctic States (Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States) to help raise awareness and to promote the effective implementation of the Polar Code.
The Secretary General of the IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, opened the meeting with video remarks highlighting the importance of the Forum’s work and collaboration between the Forum and IMO. The importance of this collaboration was highlighted by the IMO’s recent accreditation as an Arctic Council Observer, which will further strengthen the two organization’s efforts in support of sustainable Arctic shipping.
Iceland’s Sverrir Konráðsson, the Forum Chair said:
“I am pleased to see the strong interest in the Forum and the evident commitment of its Participants to making it a success. I look forward to building on the substantial progress made to date and further strengthening the Web Portal so that it becomes an indispensable tool for all those involved in Arctic shipping.”
The meeting took place in London from 3-4 June and was hosted by the United States Embassy. For further information about the Forum, its third meeting, and its participants, please visit the Meeting Site.
PAME delivered seven ministerial documents for approval:
- Underwater Noise in the Arctic: A State of Knowledge report
- Desktop study on Marine Litter, including microplastics, in the Arctic
- Guidelines for Implementing an Ecosystem Approach to Management of Arctic Marine Ecosystems
- Meaningful Engagement of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in Marine Activities (MEMA) Part II Findings for Policy Makers
- 2nd reporting on progress/implementation of the 2015-2025 Arctic Marine Strategic Plan (AMSP)
- 2019-2021 PAME Work Plan
- PAME 2017-2019 PAME Achievements Report
In addition, the following were submitted as informational documents for the meeting:
- Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum Status Report, Web-portal and Press Release
- Report on the environmental, economic, technical and practical aspects of the use by ships in the Arctic of alternative fuels
- Arctic Ship Traffic Data Project Status Report, Database and Press Release
- Regional Reception Facilities project titled: Proposal for a new output to amend MARPOL to allow the establishment of regional arrangements in the Arctic for joint submission by all Arctic States to the 74th Session of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) (13-17 May 2019)
- MEMA database
- Progress report on the EA-EG 2017-2019 work plan
- Various communication and outreach products
All documents are available here.
7 February 2019
PAME LAUNCHES ARCTIC SHIPPING DATABASE
“Positioning the Arctic Council at the forefront of Arctic shipping data analysis”
Today, the Arctic Council’s Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) launched a comprehensive Arctic shipping activity database. The launch is a significant milestone in PAME’s work to improve knowledge of historical Arctic ship traffic activity and various factors that affect such activity, such as sea ice extent, meteorological and oceanographic conditions, and international regulations. The database will allow authorized users to analyze vessel traffic patterns, fuel use, and air emissions, among other economic and environmental conditions.
The database includes archived information from 2005 to 2018 and will be updated regularly. Information contained in the ASTD database includes:
- Number of ships in the Arctic, distances sailed, and hours operated
- Location of ships, ship routes, and ship speed
- Ship types, including size and flag
- Pollution measurements from ships, including CO2 emissions
- Other environmental information such as sea ice extent
Access to the database, which may be used only for non-commercial purposes, is available to all Arctic Council members, accredited academic institutions, and other recognized research entities.
An example of a product made using data from the ASTD database - an analysis of ships in the Polar Code Area in 2017 - can be seen here: Click here to download.
Comment by PAME Chair Renée Sauvé:
“When PAME released the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report in 2009, it contained data on Arctic shipping activities that had been collected by asking Arctic nations to fill in an Excel spreadsheet. Now, we are able to use satellites to gather information on shipping traffic in the Arctic. I am confident that the ASTD database will benefit PAME, the Arctic Council, and others by providing an invaluable tool to support a wide range of reports and analyses. The ASTD will increasingly be pivotal as we seek to better understand the growth of Arctic ship traffic in the years to come.”
For more information please visit www.astd.is
EXAMPLE OF GRAPHIC PRODUCED BY USING ASTD DATA – FREE FOR USE