Marine debris collects within the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone

Mar Pollut Bull. 2007 Aug;54(8):1207-11. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2007.04.010. Epub 2007 Jun 12.


Floating marine debris, particularly derelict fishing gear, is a hazard to fish, marine mammals, turtles, sea birds, coral reefs, and even human activities. To ameliorate the economic and environmental impact of marine debris, we need to efficiently locate and retrieve dangerous debris at sea. Guided by satellite-derived information, we made four flights north of Hawaii in March and April 2005. During these aerial surveys, we observed over 1800 individual pieces of debris, including 122 derelict fishing nets. The largest debris concentrations were found just north of the North Pacific Transition Zone Chlorophyll Front (TZCF) within the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone (STCZ). Debris densities were significantly correlated with sea-surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll-a concentration (Chla), and the gradient of Chla. A Debris Estimated Likelihood Index (DELI) was developed to predict where high concentrations of debris would be most likely in the North Pacific during spring and early summer.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlorophyll / analysis
  • Chlorophyll A
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Environmental Pollution / economics
  • Environmental Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Seasons
  • Seawater / analysis
  • Temperature
  • Water Pollutants*


  • Water Pollutants
  • Chlorophyll
  • Chlorophyll A