Deepwater marine litter densities and compsoition from submersible video-gransects around the ABC-islands, Dutch Caribbean

Debrot, A.O.; Vinke, E.; Wende, G. van der; Hylkema, A.; Reed, J.K.


Baseline data on anthropogenic seafloor debris contamination in the year 2000 is provided for 24 submersible video transects at depths of 80–900 m, off the Dutch ABC-islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao), in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. In total, 202 objects were documented from a combined 21,184 m of transect, ranging from sandy lower island-slope to rocky upper island-slope habitat. Debris densities differed significantly with depth. Highest debris accumulation (0.459 items 100 m-2 or 4590 items per km2) occurred at depths of 300–600 m on more shallow-sloping (20–30°) sand and silt bottoms. The overall average debris density was 0.27 objects per 100 m2 (or 2700 items per km2), which is an order of magnitude higher than most other deepwater debris studies. What we describe may be representative for other small, populated, steep volcanic Caribbean islands. Food and beverage-related items were the single largest usage category identified (44% of objects; mostly glass beverage bottles).