It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
According to earlier findings by UNEP, 6.4 million tons of waste are disposed of at sea every year. Every square kilometre of sea has an estimated 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.
Most of that waste is produced by international shipping. Instead of paying to dispose of their waste in harbours, many captains decide to have their ship's garbage simply thrown overboard while at sea.
Shipping as a source of marine pollution is followed by domestic and industrial waste that is washed into the oceans down rivers and then spread around the globe by currents and the wind.
"The oceans are our life support systems," says Ocean Conservancy president Vikki Spruill. "They supply much of the oxygen we breath, the food we eat and regulate the climate we need to survive. But marine pollution continues to pose a threat to our health."
The report highlights the plight of sea turtles who often confuse plastic bags with jellyfish, one of their main sources of food. Many sea turtles die from consuming plastic bags.
A five-year study of Arctic Fulmar seabirds in the North Sea found 95 per cent had pieces of plastic in their stomachs.
Giant jellyfish are taking over parts of the world's oceans due to overfishing and other human activities, researchers say.
Nomura jellyfish are the biggest in the world and can grow as big as a sumo wrestler. They weigh up to 200 kilograms and can reach 2 metres in diameter.
Dr Anthony Richardson and his colleagues from CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research says jellyfish numbers are increasing, particularly in South East Asia, the Black Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea.
Jellyfish are normally kept in check by fish, which eat small jellyfish and compete for jellyfish food such as zooplankton, he says.
But with overfishing, jellyfish numbers are increasing. Jellyfish feed on fish eggs and larvae, further impacting on fish numbers.
To add insult to injury, nitrogen and phosphorous in run-off cause red phytoplankton blooms, which create low-oxygen dead zones where jellyfish survive, but fish cannot.
"You can think of them like a protected area for jellyfish," Dr Richardson says.
The researchers say climate change may also encourage more jellyfish and they have postulated for the first time that these conditions can lead to what they call a "jellyfish stable state", in which jellyfish rule the oceans.
The team recommends a number of actions in its paper, published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution and released to coincide with World Oceans Day.
They say it is important to reduce overfishing, especially of small pelagic fish like sardines, and to reduce run-off.
They also say it is important to control the transport of jellyfish around the world in ballast water and aquariums.
Jellyfish are considered simple jelly-like sea animals, which are related to the microscopic animals that form coral.
They generally start their life as a plant-like polyp on the sea bed before budding off into the well-known bell-shaped medusa.
Jellyfish have tentacles containing pneumatocyst cells, which act like little harpoons that lodge in prey to sting and kill them.
The location and number of pneumatocysts dictate whether jellyfish are processed for human consumption.
While dried jellyfish with soya sauce is a delicacy served in Chinese weddings and banquets, not all kinds of jellyfish can be eaten, Dr Richardson says.
According to Dr Richardson, the species increasing in number are not generally eaten.