Science symposia

International Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic Region

21–23 April 2020
Reykjavik, Iceland

​This symposium aims for exchanges of views and to inform about the threat of plastic to ocean life and possible reactions.​

Recently there has been an increasing worldwide discussion about plastic which fragments slowly and pollutes the environment. It has been estimated that about 9 million tons of plastic have been produced since around 1950 and about 90% of this is still present in the environment. The problem is greater than anyone could comprehend only a few years ago. This has also led to demands from both the public and politicians about actions to mitigate the problems that it is causing.

The symposium will evaluate the present status of plastic pollution in Arctic and Subarctic waters and discuss:

  • how extensive is the plastic pollution and of what nature?
  • where from and how it is transported to or in arctic and subarctic?
  • how breakdown processes are operating in the in arctic and subarctic?
  • how the different groups and sizes of plastic are affecting organisms in the arctic and subarctic?
  • which are the possible mitigation methods and how can they be put to force?
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Symposium conveners:

Hrönn Jörundsdottir, Matis, Iceland
Thomas Maes, CEFAS, UK

Member of Scientific Steering Committee:
Eydís S. Eiríksdóttir, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Reykjavik, Iceland
Bjørn E. Grøsvik, Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway
Chelsea Rochman, University of Toronto, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Toronto, Canada
Kara Lavender Law, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA
Melanie Bergmann, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany
Wojciech Wawrzynski, ICES, Copenhagen, Denmark
Henrik Enevoldsen, IOC UNESCO, Copenhagen, Denmark
Jennifer Provencher, Acadia University - National Wildlife Research Centre, Canada
Halla Hrund Logadóttir, Harvard Kennedy School, USA
Dr. Bhavan Narayanaswamy, Scottish Marine Institute, Scotland 

Local organizing committee:

Magnús Jóhannesson, Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Ólafur S. Ástþórsson, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Reykjavik, Iceland
Helga Jónsdóttir, Icelandic Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources
Héðinn Valdimarsson, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Reykjavik, Iceland
Soffía Guðmundsdóttir, PAME Secretariat, Akureyri, Iceland
Geir Oddsson, Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Sólrún Svandal, Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs

​Principal sponsors:
The Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Icelandic Ministry of the Environment and Resources
The Icelandic Ministry of Industry and Innovation
The Nordic Council of Ministers

Co-sponsors:
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
The OSPAR Commission
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC)
The Marine and Freshwater Research Institute of Iceland
The Harvard Kennedy School
The International Arctic Science Committee

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International Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic Region

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