In June 2021, the Ocean Alliance team who regularly enrich their initiatives under their Yachting for Purpose banner, donated a percentage of their profits towards providing the S.A.R.A.H Nets and equipment for superyachts here in Australia. The Superyacht MASTEKA 2, part of our Central Agency listings, was the first to receive its nets and being sampling.
In other parts of the world, large superyachts such as ARCHIMEDES, ACE and L’ALBATROS also signed up.
Microplastics. Present in all our oceans, and proven to have made their way all the way to the food chain, these tiny pieces of broken-down plastics are often invisible to the naked eye.
Yachts and Superyachts undertake ocean passages to relocate between charter seasons, or simply during charter or owners use: what best platform could marine science research ask for to sample the ocean?
Identifying the International Seakeepers Society as their next partner, and right in line with the start of the United Nations Ocean Decade (2021-2030), Ocean Alliance was delighted to equip the first commercial superyacht in Australia with a Sampling Net to collect microplastics in the ocean as part of their S.A.R.A.H Initiative.
Abbreviated for Sample – Aggregate – Return – Analyse – Help, the S.A.R.A.H Initiative is designed to be a citizen science program that enables vessels to assist in the collection of plastic samples. The International SeaKeepers Society partnered with Florida International University for the analysis and report of samples.
When the S.A.R.A.H. lab receives the samples, they weigh each plastic fragment individually and then analyse the plastic pieces using infrared spectroscopy to determine their composition. Knowledge of the density and composition of plastics is valuable, specifically to understanding what types of plastics are present in the water column, and because each plastic type has its own individual chemical properties. Each variety of plastic absorbs different types of chemicals, and they have varying degradation rates in the marine environment. Uncovering the prevalence and location of distinctive plastic types can help us pinpoint the major sources of ocean plastics, in order to legislate for decreases in production and ultimately diminish their use in everyday life. Plastics ending up in the water column are also being ingested by marine life, so the information from this study would be of interest to policy makers interested in cutting down on the most prevalent types of pollution that are ending up in the saltwater fish that we eat.
For yachts wanting to participate, it is not time-consuming at all. We ask that they tow the sampling net once a week for twelve (12) weeks. This of course would be contingent on sea and weather conditions. But each tow would literally take 15-20 minutes of their time per week. It is easy to deploy and training is done with a field guide, how-to video, and remote guidance from me.
If you are an Owner, Crew, or industry professional and wish to participate, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to sharing the results of these findings. Follow us on social media for updates.