NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

Our first round of manta net sampling!

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It was an exciting morning out on the Chesapeake. Several of us met up with the Oxford crew and the vessel Laidly bright and early to take our first attempt at trawling for debris with the manta net in the Patapsco River. The manta net, as the name implies, resembles a manta ray with wings on the sides of the net to keep it afloat and level at the surface of the water. This being our first time, we were not exactly sure the best way to tow it off of the vessel. Do we add weights? Do we have a separate tow line from the winch line? There was certainly some stress involved in the beginning…I think that’s where my first few strands of gray hair came from. 🙂

That all smoothed out and the ulcers went away when we started off with the simplest design and it worked well! We did three 15 minute trawls and recovered more debris then we were expecting. The rain the previous night probably helped with that. After the trawls and sample processing were complete, we also performed several visual tally surveys off of the bow of the vessel. We saw the usual plastic fragments, wrappers, and bottles…most of which probably wasn’t disposed of directly into the river, but was washed off streets and shorelines. That’s where are program education comes into play. Just because you may live far from shore, doesn’t mean your debris/litter won’t end up there eventually!


Author: NOAA Marine Debris Program

The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts, users, and inhabitants free from the impacts of marine debris. Our mission is to investigate and solve the problems that stem from marine debris, in order to protect and conserve our nation's marine environment, natural resources, industries, economy, and people.

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