Magalhães, KM, Rosa Filho, JS, Teixeira, CEP, Coelho Jr., C, Lima, MCS, Souza, AMC and Soares, Marcelo de Oliveira ORCID: (2022) Oil and plastic spill: 2021 as another challenging year for marine conservation in the South Atlantic Ocean. Marine Policy, 140 . p. 105076. DOI

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After two years of the most extensive (2890 km of coastline affected) oil spill on the Brazilian coast (2019), a new event of unknown origin brought about 1.3 tons of plastics and oil to the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago; formed by 21 oceanic islands with high endemism, productivity and unique ecosystems such as rich seagrass and rhodolith beds and the only insular mangrove ecosystem in the South Atlantic. The no-take marine protected area of the Fernando de Noronha National Park has been affected by marine debris from Africa and weathered oil that brings ecological risks to biodiversity and ecosystems services in the only pristine seagrass beds and mangrove in Brazil. In this note, we describe this novel event and argue that the maritime surveillance system of the Brazilian coast remains non-operational, making it challenging to find the responsible parties for such a recent accident (2021) and the extensive event beginning in 2019. This new event shows that past mistakes have not been learned and that the Brazilian federal government continues to have a low capacity in detecting environmental accidents in its Exclusive Economic Zone and potential polluters. Moreover, this new event in unique insular marine environments shows how vulnerable the South Atlantic coastline and islands are to the growing impacts of increasing plastics in the ocean basin and accidents involving the fossil fuel production chain, shipwrecks, and shipping lines, especially when extreme climate events are expected due to global environmental change.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA2
Research affiliation: Ecology > Reef Systems
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 0308597X
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 04 May 2022 14:56
Last Modified: 04 May 2022 14:56

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