By Dani Escontrela, RJD Intern
Plastic debris is becoming a very prevalent problem for our world’s oceans. In fact two of the ocean’s largest features, the North Pacific and North Atlantic Subtropical gyres, have large patches of anthropogenic debris floating in its waters. There has been a significant amount of research that has found plastic or other anthropogenic debris in the stomachs of sea birds, invertebrates, marine mammals and planktivorous fishes. This debris can be harmful to these species as it can lead to physical entanglement, decreased nutrition from intestinal blockage, suffocation and decreased mobility; plastic can also be a vector for other harmful contaminants. As much research as there is about anthropogenic debris ingestion by the species mentioned, there aren’t many studies about ingestion by large marine fishes. This study set out to study this phenomenon by sampling large, pelagic predatory fishes from the central North Pacific subtropical gyre surrounding the Hawaiian Island archipelago.