Sunday February 02, 2014 | 09:42 AM
Posted by Harold Johnson

Britain and Ireland have had an awful winter so far, with storm after storm battering the coast.

All that energy has brought up and beached a ton of plastic debris, including a cornucopia from the Gulf of Maine.

In the past month or so, folks across the Pond that I’m in touch with have found:

A lobster buoy owned by a lobsterman out of Friendship, Maine
Found western Ireland

Another buoy from the “Mr Koffee” out of Owl’s Head, Maine
Found western Ireland

Trap vent door from North American lobster trap
Found in town of Par, Cornwall, England


Massachusetts lobster trap tag from 2002
Found in Tregantle, Cornwall, England

Maine lobster trap tag from 2007
Found in western Ireland

Maine lobster trap tag from 2005
Found in western Ireland

Name tag from a lobster trap
Found in Newquay, Cornwall, England

Another disc from the March 2011 Hooksett sewage treatment plant disaster
Found in Devon, England (many of these are reportedly washing up along England’s south shore now)

The above is just a sampling. I encourage you to check out the photos from these FaceBook feeds and see just what is washing up an ocean away!

Maine lobstermen lose some 38,000 traps to the Gulf of Maine each year. Not to mention buoys, bait bags, fishing rope, gloves, claw bands. Add Canada and the rest of the New England fleet. Then add disasters like Hooksett, as well as everyday ordinary litter and “oops”es.

At first it might seem an amazing and wonderful thing to find an identifiable piece of America washing up on a shore 3,500 miles away.

But then another one washes up. And another. And another.

And soon you realize that this isn’t rare at all. In a plastic world, it’s the new normal.

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About the Author

Visiting a Maine beach in March 2010, Harold Johnson was shocked by the ocean-borne debris left by recent storms. He grabbed a garbage bag and a camera, and hasn’t looked back.

Since then he has spent most of his free time studying marine pollution, coastal ecosystems, and the mysteries and science of ocean and shore.

Copyeditor and writer by trade, historian and archaeologist at heart, Johnson’s philosophy is simple: Dig below the surface, travel the currents, make the connections, learn. Then share what you learn. He lives in Saco with his wife and young daughter. Follow on Twitter @FlotsamDiaries.

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March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

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October 2013


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March 2013

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January 2013

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