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SeaKeepers partners with FIU to tackle microplastic pollution

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The International SeaKeepers Society has teamed up with Florida International University to launch SARAH, an initiative designed to address the proliferation of plastic pollutants in the world’s oceans with the assistance of volunteer yachts, according to the group’s newsletter.

Here is what’s involved:
S – Sample: Conduct net tows and collect samples with the kits provided.
A – Aggregate: After each net tow, rinse contents from the net into sample filters, then label and seal filters.
R – Return: After each voyage, the samples are packaged and shipped back to the SARAH program research team at FIU.
A – Analyze: Researchers will analyze the density, type and size of plastic particles and archive the results in a database.
H – Help: By collecting data, yacht crew will help researchers quantify and map marine plastic debris.

SeaKeepers expects to have kits ready for distribution to yachts by summer.

In its Discovery Yachts Program, SeaKeepers works with yacht owners and crew to coordinate scientific expeditions and outreach activities. The degree of participation can vary from a 10-minute instrument deployment while the yacht is en route to its next port to week-long expeditions with a team of researchers.

Vessel owners who donate time on their yachts will be honored at SeaKeepers events, featured on the SeaKeepers website and recognized for their research and conservation efforts in the SeaKeepers newsletter.

For more information, visit seakeepers.org.

Tony Gilbert, SeaKeepers program director, left, and Mark Bond, FIU CASE director of development, test equipment aboard D/Y Shredder on Jan. 18. Photo courtesy of SeaKeepers

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