Marine debris (MD) pollution is a problem of global concern because of its impact on marine ecosystems. The current extent of this problem and its implications concerning reef conservation are unknown in Ecuador. The composition and distribution of submerged MD was assessed on two reefs using underwater surveys of geomorphological areas: crest, slope and bottom. MD items were classified according to source and use. Plastic-derived debris represents > 90% of total MD found on the reefs, principally composed by plastic containers and nets. 63% of the MD was associated to fishing activities. The composition showed differences between sites and geomorphological areas, monofilament nets were found on the crests, multifilament lines on the slopes and plastic containers on the bottom. MD disposal might be a result of the influx of visitors and fishing activities. Distribution is related to bottom type, level of boating/fishing activity and benthic features.
Juan Figueroa-Pico, David Mero-Del Valle, Ricardo Castillo-Ruperti, Dayanara Macías-Mayorga, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 109, Issue 1, 15 August 2016, Pages 7–13