05.05.2014

Expedition 2014: Oceaneye is ready to cast off

Whereas the analytical process of the samples collected in 2013 comes to an end (thank you Zoran Kaufmann), the Oceaneye crew has set sail for a new expedition in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The sailing boat is presently in Marseille, ready for departure tomorrow Tuesday heading the South of Spain.

Mediterranean Sea
This is the fourth campaign Oceaneye undertakes to measure the micro-and mesoplastic pollution in the Mediterranean. After having established evidence of a high presence of particles in the Mediterranean basin (average in the range of 130’000 particles/km2, which equals a plastic/organic ratio of 0.5), our association wants to measure the evolution of the concentration over a longer period of time. Oceaneye would like to establish the following evidence: is the pollution worsening and at what annual rate. This is an arduous and long time job; we will need between 5 to 10 years to come to a solid conclusion.

Pascal Hagmann comments: "I am motivated, every new expedition is a milestone bringing us closer to our final objective: to produce a first survey as to the evolution of the microplatic pollution in the Mediterranean Sea. There is no such information available and we have almost done half-way to the destination. On our first leg from Marseille to Benalmadena, we intend to take about twenty water- samples. These datas will be doubled on our way back in August."

Atlantic Ocean
After the Mediterranean, Oceaneye will, during July and August, continue the expedition in the Atlantic Ocean reaching the eastern part of the North-Atlantic waste patch. The analysis of the 62 samples collected in 2013 in this area reinforces evidence that we have entered into the North Atlantic waste patch which has already reached the western part of the Azores.

Pascal Hagmann: "A viable scientific survey requires a big number of samples. The Atlantic expedition aims to increase the density of taking samples in order to produce reliable results which we intend to publish and make available to the United Nations."

Testing of a new tool
For our new project Eco-Participation – which consists of making available to and equipping other volunteering boats with the sample collecting device, we have built a new tool which is more compact for the transport, more simple to use and minimizes handling errors. During the preparation of this year’s expedition, Oceaneye has tested the modified collecting gear and concludes that its functionality has improved a lot. (thank you Steve Larsen for the improvement).

Oceaneye prêt à larguer les amarres
After a long period of preparation and settling during the winter, the skipper is happy to see the sailboat floating again.

Essai du nouveau manta trawl
The new manta trawl testing. The "sausage" wings facilitates its use. Tools for the "eco-particpation" project are set up.