ATLANTA (November 10, 2015) - Today, members from Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance® will gather at Georgia Aquarium, to discuss the latest science and information available on marine debris, and better understand how to address this growing problem. Georgia Aquarium became a member of the Trash Free Seas Alliance this past May - joining a group of more than 20 sustainability leaders from across the globe. The Trash Free Seas Alliance is a unique forum launched by Ocean Conservancy in 2012 that brings together thought leaders from industry, conservation, and academia to create a forum for pragmatic, real-world collaboration focused on measurable reduction of ocean trash. Alliance members commit to shared exploration of long-term strategies that improve ocean health by reducing or eliminating ocean trash.

Along with overfishing, global warming and ocean acidification, plastic pollution is one of the top conservation threats to the ocean today.  In their natural setting, many of the species at Georgia Aquarium, including dolphins, whales, sea lions, fish and penguins, suffer the impacts of plastic pollution, so the issue is very relevant to the Aquarium’s mission. 

“Earlier this year, staff from the Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station in Marineland, Florida, recovered the body of a stranded beaked whale and found its stomach to be full of plastic debris. This case was just one example that has encouraged us to look for partners in the mission to reduce plastic pollution, a task which is both pressing and daunting. Ocean Conservancy has championed an inclusive approach that seeks to build bridges between industry and conservation groups and we at Georgia Aquarium are delighted to lend our support so that we might all work together toward better stewardship of the ocean," said Dr. Alistair Dove, director of research and conservation at Georgia Aquarium.

 Stemming the Tide: Land-based strategies for a plastic-free ocean is a first-of-its-kind, solutions-oriented report from Ocean Conservancy, as a signature initiative of the Trash Free Seas Alliance, in partnership with the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment. The report outlines specific land-based solutions for plastic waste in the ocean, starting with the elimination of plastic waste leakage in five countries  where ocean plastic inputs are currently greatest).

“The report’s findings confirm what many have long thought – that ocean plastic solutions actually begin on land. It will take a coordinated effort of industry, NGOs and government to solve this growing economic and environmental problem," said Andreas Merkl, CEO of Ocean Conservancy.

Stemming the Tide underscores that the next 10 years will be critical to effectively solve the problem of ocean plastic– a problem that is not just local, but global in nature and calls for a concerted global response.

Members of the Trash Free Seas Alliance will be coming together in Atlanta for cross industry discussion about what can be done in the near future to address this growing concern. By bringing together industry, governments, and NGOs, the meeting’s goal is to catalyze and prioritize the ocean plastic waste issue as part of the global policy agenda on the ocean and the environment. At this meeting, the Alliance will explore how to convert the knowledge gained from the Stemming the Tide into on the ground action in the five priority countries, as well as an inquiry into additional innovation and solution initiatives that the Alliance can incubate moving forward.

###

ABOUT GEORGIA AQUARIUM

Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that contains more than 10 million gallons of water and has the largest collection of aquatic animals. Georgia Aquarium’s mission is to be a scientific institution that entertains and educates, features exhibits and programs of the highest standards, and offers engaging and exciting guest experiences that promote the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Georgia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org

ABOUT THE TRASH FREE SEAS ALLIANCE 

Launched by Ocean Conservancy in 2012, the Trash Free Seas Alliance brings together thought leaders from industry, conservation and academia to create a forum for pragmatic, real-world collaboration focused on the measurable reduction of ocean trash. Alliance members commit to shared exploration of long-term strategies that improve ocean health by reducing or eliminating ocean trash. Visit the Trash Free Seas Alliance webpage for more information.