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

Reykjavik, 21-23 April 2020

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

Reykjavik, 21-23 April 2020

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

Reykjavik, 21-23 April 2020

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

Iceland holds the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council from May 2019 to May 2021. Iceland will during its chairmanship put emphasis on discussing and promoting ways and means to reduce the impact of plastics on the Arctic marine ecosystem. This emphasis will be reflected in the work of the Arctic Council, but Iceland intends also to stage an international symposium on the matter in Reykjavík in April 2020. The tentative title of the symposium is: “The threat of plastic to Arctic and Sub-Arctic marine ecosystems.“

The Government of Iceland has already received confirmation from The Nordic Council of Ministers and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to become co-sponsors of the event, which we hope will provide a most relevant update on plastic in the region and its impact on the marine environment. Iceland is interested in extending the collaboration and sponsorship of the symposium and is considering adding 2-3 further sponsors for the event.

The planned symposium will build a foundation of science and produce information and advice for decision makers. The symposium aims for exchange of views and to inform about the threat of plastic to ocean life and possible reactions. The symposium will evaluate present status of plastic pollution in Arctic and Sub-Arctic waters and discuss the extent and nature of the plastic pollution. The origin of plastic litter and how it is transported to or in Arctic and Sub-Arctic waters and how breakdown processes are operating in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic. Furthermore the symposium should focus on how different groups and sizes of plastic are affecting organisms in Arctic and Sub-Arctic. Finally it should discuss possible mitigation methods and how they can be implemented.

The conveners for the symposium have been appointed. They are Hrönn Jörundsdottir, MATIS, Reykjavik and Thomas Maes, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Lowestoft.

Work has started to select and appoint a high-level scientific committee to assist in drawing up the program and the list of speakers for the conference.