Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Collection Report March 12, 2012

Monday, March 12. 9:50AM. Just past low tide. A warm one this day, bright sun & energy in the air.

When I stepped onto the beach I was greeted by a new sight:
Low-tide sandbar exposed!
Never seen this sandbar before, not in two years! Pretty excellent evidence that the seabottom offshore is shifting and moving. And if that's happening, pretty good evidence for why this year's collection numbers are so different from last.

With this impediment in the way, the wash-ins were sure to be low. Which gave me a chance to reflect on the beauty of the moment. The stillness of the slack water left behind by the retreating tide, with the gurgling surf juuuuuust out of reach.
Rippled bar
Snail and worm tracks
Within 10 minutes the turning tide had inundated this peaceful backwater, churning up the ripples & tracks, burying the bar back under silty sea. The ephemeral beauty of the beach.

On to the collection. Zone N:
26 finds:
  • Building materials: 2 (asphalt chunks)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 2
  • Fishing misc.: 5 (rope scrap, lobster trap bumper, trap vinyl coating scrap, 2 claw bands)
  • Food-related plastics: 2 (straw, bottlecap)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 1 (tiny can scrap)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 5 (baggie, toy thermometer, tennis ball, vinyl floormat scrap, 1 scrap <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 5
  • Paper/wood: 1 (tissue)
  • Misc./unique: 2 (rag scrap, leather strap)
The thermometer, dropped that week by someone's little boy or girl, will make a nice addition to my daughter's collection. Otherwise, it was the usual shlock -- and this year's usual amount. Down to Zone S:
13 finds:
  • Building materials: 4 (2 asphalt chunks, 1 concrete, 1 vinyl-coatedmetal fencing)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 1
  • Fishing misc.: 3 (2 lobster trap vinyl scraps, shotgun shell)
  • Food-related plastics: 2 (bottlecap, mint "tin")
  • Food-related metal/glass: 0
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 0
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 3 (2 filters, 1 packaging)
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 0
As far back as December I suspected this year was going to play out differently than last. A month ago I started seeing very old seabottom stuff that suggested the seafloor was shifting. And on this day I got to see the effects of that shift -- if briefly -- down at the end of the beach.

The ocean is ever changing. What it chooses to send up onto the sands can tell you a lot about what's going on beneath the waves. If you can figure out how to see it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Collection Report March 6, 2012

So many things building up to write about, but first I will get these Bay View Collection Reports caught up. Without further ado: Tuesday, March 6, 1:00PM. Sunny, bright, maybe right around freezing. An hour or so before low tide.

A big day of sand & shell (some shells 8 inches big!), following a snowy & rainy week that brought rare energy to the coast.
And dislodged more old seabottom debris from out in the deeps like this:
Young sea colander growing onto an
old lobster trap bumper
and this:
Whole trap, #3754 0495 ME 03 EEZ Z:G
Disturbingly, this trap -- likely lost 8 years ago -- was still fishing for finds. Its bait bag was intact and filled with a new colony of mussels.
Ghost fishing
This is one danger of so many lost traps. If their vents are blocked and/or don't open to allow catch to get back out, creatures will die inside and simply become bait for the next generation. Over & over for years. There are probably half a million lost lobster traps on the bottom of the Gulf of Maine. That number is rising. The amazing work of folks like the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation is starting to shine a real light on the problem.

Again, the numbers at the beach this week weren't spectacular. But the variety -- and what did come up -- kind of was. Zone N:
62 finds:
  • Building materials: 15 (7 asphalt chunks, 7 roof shingle scraps, 1 fence slat)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 2
  • Fishing misc.: 13 (7 lobster trap vinyl scraps, 1 trap bumper, 1 bait bag, 2 claw bands, shotgun shell, shell wadding)
  • Food-related plastics: 4 (bottlecap liner, sauce pack, food wrapper, fork handle)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 8 (2 can scraps, 6 sea glass including 1 very old)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 14 (2 bag scraps, tiny tire scrap, plastic pipe, 3 scraps >1", 7 scraps <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 0
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 6 (3 rag scraps, metal paperclip, 2 leather shoe soles)
As with last week, this week it was less about how much came in as it was about what came in. Like this glass bottle neck (labeled ...F O R D(?)...).
The bubbles & imperfections suggest a very old piece of glass. How long had it been out there? Was it buried for decades along with the 1970s aluminum I've been finding lately? Wish there had been more of it.

Beyond the glass, notable was the number of roof shingle and leather scraps. Another weird day with clusters of things that usually don't appear at all.

On to Zone S:
35 finds:
  • Building materials: 9 (4 asphalt chunks, 3 roof shingle scraps, 1 brick, 1 mortar chunk)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing misc.: 8 (3 claw bands, lobster trap, 2nd trap hunk (not pictured), 3 vinyl scraps)
  • Food-related plastics: 2 (bottlecap liners)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 4 (can scrap, 3 sea glass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 9 (tube, sleeve, large bit of plastic fencing (not pictured), lip balm tube, 4 scraps >1", 1 scrap <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 0
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 3 (fabric scrap, intact t-shirt (not pictured), iron fencepost (not pictured))
A lot of "not pictured"s here. The large trap hunk and fencing were too big to bring home and lay out; the shirt too sopping wet. But it was a day for big things! And small. Like this tube of Carmex lip balm, complete with more fish bitemarks.
Which wraps up the week with yet another reminder: If it's out there, something is going to take a nibble of it. And there's a lot of stuff out there.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Collection Report Feb 29, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012. 10:15 AM. Happy Leap Day! A gray, brisk morning, low tide, temps about 30 degrees F.
Look, a wrack line! A pathetic one, but more pronounced than most this winter. The latest high-tide was extremely weak though, barely pushing swash 1/3 of the way up the beach.

Still, the waves & winds managed to form a new range of cusps -- high grounds of sand with low troughs in-between, spaced evenly up and down the shoreline. And they dumped enough sand to bury some (much?) of what they brought in:
Well hello, little... scrap of bag?
Um, no, entire bag!
Just north of my zones, a washed-in lobster trap held half a dozen broken beer bottles from a recent party. More troubling is what happens to a trap as it slowly rots on the seafloor.
When the vinyl scrapes against the bottom enough to expose the steel, the steel rusts & bubbles out. Eventually it splits and bursts the vinyl coating into tiny scraps. Each rusting lobster trap can spew off 1,000 or more little pieces of vinyl that then bounce colorfully along the sea bottom and likely into the food web. There are likely half a million -- or more -- rotting lobster traps at the bottom of the Gulf of Maine.

At any rate, the week had some excitement, though not for volume of debris. Zone N:
19 finds:
  • Building materials: 1 (brick)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 2
  • Fishing misc.: 2 (claw band, vinyl trap coating)
  • Food-related plastics: 0
  • Food-related glass/metal: 3 (1970s can scrap, 2 sea glass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 6 (bag, rubberband, plastic cord, 1 scrap >1", 2 scraps <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 3
  • Paper/wood: 1
  • Misc./unique: 1 (fabric scrap)
Number-wise, nothing worth noting. But this guy is worth noting:
This pull-tab era aluminum top to a steel can is 30+ years old. It's the second such ancient piece of aluminum to wash into Bay View within a few weeks. If an offshore sandbar is shifting, revealing ancient debris, maybe it's blocking the transport of new debris at the same time. The junk is still out there. Maybe this humble scrap is a big clue as to why it's currently bypassing Bay View.

Anyway, on to Zone S:
14 finds:
  • Building materials: 2 (brick)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 1
  • Fishing misc.: 2 (claw band, monofilament line)
  • Food-related plastics: 2 (sauce pack lid, fork/spoon scrap)
  • Food-related glass/metal: 2 (bottlecap, sea glass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 4 (bag, old comb, 1 scrap >1", 1 scrap <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 1
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 0
This poor thing is probably glad finally to be at rest:
I wonder if it had been buried under a sandbar for 30 years too?

Another week down. The numbers are as unimpressive as they've been most of the winter. But sometimes it's not about how much you find; it's about how much you can find out.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Tale of Two Winters

From Dec 2010 - Feb 2011, I collected, on average 180 pieces of manmade debris at my beach, Bayview, in Saco, Maine each week.

From Dec 2011 - Feb 2012, that number was an average of 60 pieces each week!

Anyone following my Collection Reports has seen that the amount of debris I'm pulling off the beach has nosedived. It would be very tempting to see this as amazing news. I'd be tempted too, if not for all the research I'm now conducting simultaneously on a second beach further south.*
This, plus 153 individual scraps of fishing rope, came from my
second beach, Curtis Cove in Biddeford, for a total of 249
pieces of junk from 150 ft of shoreline. In one week in Feb.
No, the debris is still swirling in the Gulf of Maine, as fiercely as ever. But for some reason, starting in mid-November, it largely stopped washing up on Bayview beach.


There are two really intriguing possibilities. The first has to do with a strange phenomenon called internal waves. The ocean isn't one big homogenous lump of water. It is stratified -- often sharply -- with fresh, "light" layers on top and saltier, "dense" layers down below. When the stratification is strong, energy that gets put into the ocean (from storm or surface wind, etc.) can propagate along the boundaries between those layers. It's the cause of what's known as "dead water" -- when, say, a boat propellor that usually pushes the boat forward instead sends all its energy just into creating these underwater waves, and the boat hardly moves at all.

What does this have to do with beach debris? Well if the winter of 2010/11 was a time of high stratification between layers, more ocean energy may have traveled through these undersea conduits, churning up the seabottom and its debris. This huge wrackline from December 2010...
...may have gotten its beginnings from a churned-up seafloor thanks to shallow-water internal waves. Contrast that view with this winter's:
All winter long there has been almost zero seaborne wrack. No wrack = no plastic. Are the internal waves weaker this year, or even shut down? It's been an exceptionally mild winter in Maine. Freakishly mild. Does Saco Bay need bone-chilling air masses to stratify its waters in winter? We've also had fairly little rain or snow all winter long. Does the bay need fresh river runoff to stratify it?

I don't know. But it's one thought, and it's got some support from oceanographers I've spoken with.

The second thought comes from the few curious finds that have surfaced. Twice in the past month, I've pulled from the sands pulltab-era aluminum tops from old rusted-away steel cans.
2/29: Generic style used ~1970-1980
3/12: Coke can used only '71-'72
A third 30+ year-old pulltab aluminum top down in Curtis Cove makes 3 in a month! Which makes me wonder if an offshore sandbar has shifted, revealing 30-year-old flotsam and dampening the energy coming into Bayview. Just this week, at an ultralow low-tide, I snapped this muddy bar which peeked out of the water at the very edge of the tide line:
I've never seen anything like a sandbar exposed out at Bayview before. The ripples show that it's migrating landward. If it has bigger cousins just offshore, and they're steep enough to cut off inflow of seafloor debris, that may be what's stopping the debris from coming in.

As usual, I have more questions than answers. Clearly there's some energy at the beach. I've documented huge sandloads dumped up on the shore this winter, as well as several lobster traps. Yet the stuff that would get whipped up, suspended, and dragged in -- like vinyl, polystyrene, seaweed -- it's just not coming.

Whatever's keeping it from coming in, it's out there. And it will start washing into Bayview again. It's just a question of when. For the moment, it leaves me with the tantalizing question of "Why?"

* More specifics on this beach, Curtis Cove in Biddeford, in a future post, soon!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Collection Report Feb 21, 2012

Monday, February 20th, 2PM. Hour before low-tide. Bright sun, 40 degrees. A rare brisk Winter '12 seabreeze.
February 20
But on the sands? Nothing. No wrack, rock, shell, paper, metal, or plastic. A void. So, a return Tuesday, February 21st. 1:15PM, a couple hours before high-tide. A repeat of the day before, weatherwise.
February 21, cusps, rocks, and...
And mostly a repeat of conditions on the ground. At least the regular, beautiful cusps are back. Behind, the sand slopes sharply up to the dunes; in front, the sand drops off sharply again to the low-tide terrace. But on either side? Still nothing. Zone N:
16 finds:
  • Building materials: 1 (asphalt)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing misc.: 1
  • Food-related plastics: 1 (straw wrapper)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 3 (sea glass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 6 (survey flag/marker, tieback, 1 scrap >1", 3 scraps <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 4 (3 filters, 1 filter tip)
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 0

How dull? That dull. Oh, and Zone S? Zip. Not one bit of manmade debris washed in.

Thus ends one of the briefest collection reports I've ever done! I'd love for this to be great news... But at the beginning of the year, I got approval from National Fish & Wildlife Service to work on a second beach about 5 miles south, an untouristed little nook called Curtis Cove.
Yay, I'm official!
After removing, so far, 1000+ feet of fishing rope from the Cove -- plus hundreds of scraps of new washed-in plastic every week -- I know that the Gulf of Maine hasn't miraculously cleaned itself.*
One recent week's haul at Curtis Cove
The junk's just bypassing Bayview's shores. But in a way, this is exciting to me. The debris is out there, yet Bayview this year is monumentally different from last. The question is, why?

I'm working two hypotheses:

(1) A little-known phenomenon called "internal waves," which propagate through the water instead of on the surface. If those waves are missing or weak, seafloor debris may not get churned up enough to move onto land.

(2) Sandbars. If a series of sandbars has moved into the Bay just offshore, it might be blocking debris as well as dampening the energy of the incoming waves. The high-tide swash marks this winter have been pathetic compared to last year. Several yards further down the slope than last year's average. For whatever reason, the energy just isn't there at Bay View this year.

* I'm keeping track of my Curtis Cove finds too. Soon I'll devote a blog page describing what I'm doing there and will post its collection reports as well. Being a site that gets no tourists, practically everything I find has been washed in. And I'm learning that much of it has really fascinating stories to tell.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Collection Report Feb 13-15, 2012

February 13, 2012. 2PM, an hour or so before high-tide. Yet another bright, sunny day. A very cold morning, so I left my collection bags at home, figuring everything would be iced hard to the ground. I figured wrong.
No ice here!
Oh well. I stuck around to survey the landscape. There had definitely been energy here, at least judging by the pebbles sculpted & blasted up onto the beach face. But...
Lake Placid?
...Where on earth was that energy? All the way out to the horizon, the sea surface on this day was as glazed and dead as it's been all winter.

The answer is fairly simple. The energy's been where it's been all winter, when it's been around at all. On the seafloor. The swash zone (where the high tide waves break and splash up the slope) was littered with shell, pebbles, gravel -- all heavy, dense seafloor debris.

What isn't typical about this week is one way that energy manifested itself on the 13th:
The artist at work
The ocean has cast up pebble mounds before. But always in even rows, spaced consistently down the beach. Never one massive headland of cobbles and pebbles sitting all on its own! Yet again, nature amazes.

At any rate, given the lack of bags on my person on the 13th, I came back on the 15th. About 9:45AM, an hour after low-tide. In one sense the view was the same:
This actually is a different pic from the first,
look at the tide!
In another sense it was quite different:
That's where the rock pile was two days before;
by the 15th, blown utterly out of existence
What a world. Anyway, the wracklines were about the same, and the finds among them seemed about the same. So with that prelude, on to them. Zone N:
52 finds:
  • Building materials: 23 (20 asphalt, 2 tile, 1 brick)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 1
  • Fishing misc.: 13 (7 rope, 4 claw bands, 1 monofilament line, 1 trap vinyl coating scrap)
  • Food-related plastics: 0
  • Food-related metal/glass: 9 (seaglass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 2 (plastic plug, tieback)
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 2
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 2 (fabric scraps)
Can't pretend there's much interesting here, except maybe the big haul of asphalt.

Down to Zone S:
63 finds:
  • Building materials: 27 (7 brick, 20 asphalt)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 3
  • Fishing misc.: 5 (3 rope - 1 v large, 2 monofilaments)
  • Food-related plastics: 1 (bottle)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 8 (7 sea glass, foil wrapper)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 8 (bandaid, plastic lumber, engine belt, 2 scraps >1", 3 scraps <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 7
  • Paper/wood: 1
  • Misc./unique: 3 (2 fabric scraps, metal fencing)
The badly tortured plastic bottle still had its cap on, but scrapes on its underside had opened it & filled it with sand. Surely a long-suffering wash-in. As were the very grubby and frayed bits of rope (which I also found in Zone N above). The seaglass was a treat, as it's still rare to find more than one or two, no matter what the sea state.

So a varied week. Dead waves, yet heavy seafloor energy -- heavy enough to bring up asphalt, brick, glass, stone. Curiously, no tubeworm casings. Wherever in the surf zone these little homebuilders live, they escaped the week's fury. As did the densest/heaviest of plastics -- the vinyls. Only one, maybe two examples. The plastic that did wash in was limited to less dense varieties, oddly.

And again, no seaweed. Which is the bellwether. If energy strikes the seafloor where there's sea colander & kelp growing, it churns it up. Along with the plastics stuck amongst it. The two go hand in hand. This week, the energy didn't hit the seaweed zone.

Why does seafloor energy hit different parts of the seafloor in different weeks? The answer seems to be one of the keys in predicting where & how debris will wash in. Oh well. Live and learn.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Long Road

My friend Danielle of It Starts With Me and her family have picked up over 40,000 cigarette butts from Wrightsville Beach, NC. And counting.

This, by any measure in a sane world, would be insane. Knowing this, Danielle and the Cape Fear branch of Surfrider helped organize a town meeting last night to push for a ban on smoking at the beach.
Surfrider's campaign posters
are top-notch
Despite a packed house filled with a sea of supporters in blue shirts reading "Breathe Easy / Keep it Clean" (some 90% of the room supported the ban), the council voted 3-2 against.

In Portland, Maine it took until February 2012 for the city even to acknowledge that a plastic cigarette butt, loaded with a cocktail of toxic chemicals, was litter!
Monument Square, Portland, ME
(image from the Portland Press Herald online)
Let that sink in for a moment. The first rumblings of the ill-effects of cigarettes came in the 1940s. By 1970, cigarette advertising was banned from TV. The Tobacco Wars of the early 1990s ended with the universal understanding that cigarettes are dangerous, and deadly. Yet it took 20 more years for Maine's largest city to identify a cigarette butt as litter.

Last week I visited the Maine Fishermen's Forum up in Rockland at the beautiful Samoset Resort, overlooking rocky cliffs and a foggy sea. The fishing industry in the Gulf of Maine has reeled from one crisis to another for decades. Pollution, overfishing, acidification, sea-temperature rise -- these are putting tremendous pressure on fish stocks. So much of this comes back to simple mistreatment of the fishery & the environment. Yet judging by the view I saw out on the covered walkway...
100 more all around the can and snowy sidewalk for the environment isn't high on the radar.

Since I started the Flotsam Diaries, I've pulled about 1/2 mile of fishing rope from local beaches.
200 more feet pulled up at Curtis Cove, Biddeford
on March 7, 2012
It's all plastic -- nylon or polypropylene. It will last forever, in some form. What I've retrieved represents the tiniest percent of what's certainly out there. I've also recorded several dozen derelict lobster traps washed up. Here's 30 or so from Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunk, last year:
Each trap is vinyl-coated, and each slowly releases 1000 chunks of toxic polymers as the steel rusts. Conservatively there are half a million derelict lobster traps on the seafloor in the Gulf of Maine. The number is probably far higher.

Yet Maine has no regulations for monitoring lost rope. If a lobsterman loses a trap, they fill out a form. But that paper form goes into a stack, with nobody really examining where it was lost. Even if the location was known, there are ZERO funds in the state to recover any of the gear.

So the problems grow. And heads remain firmly buried in the sand.

Still, it's not all doom and gloom. More and more cities are taking cigarette litter seriously. Even Portland, finally. More and more are taking grocery-bag and other plastic litter seriously. And the state of Washington has just passed ground-breaking regulation to monitor and help clean up fishing debris. There are fingerposts and guides the world over showing the good that can happen when you admit a problem exists & then fight it like you mean it.

Change can be a long road. I know all too well that it can feel sometimes like a hopeless road. But at least it's a road. Can you imagine life if there were no roads to take you somewhere beyond where you are?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Looking and Seeing

How's this for a story.

Early summer, at the height of the Roman empire, the commander of a Roman frontier fort receives word that he and his troops are being sent far away to fight a new war. The fort becomes a beehive of activity. Soldiers hurriedly pack up all their goods, repair what they can, dispose of what they can't. Tents are patched, shoes re-soled, weaponry honed.

As one of the final acts before shipping out, servants round up the commander's old paperwork and pile it in a heap in the livestock yard. They set a bonfire and then leave the fort, and their old lives, behind. A typical storm brews in the hills, dousing the bonfire before it's done its work. But by then there's nobody left to relight it.

The fort sits abandoned through the rest of the summer and into fall. Leaves blow into the buildings, squirrels hide acorn stashes amid the rush floors. But before winter hunger sends them back to collect their hoard, the next army garrison arrives, half-heartedly knocks down & covers the old fort, and starts to build its new home there.

This isn't a fantasy or a novel. This happened. The year was AD 105. The place, Vindolanda, in what is now northern England. Thanks to thick Northumbrian clay, remains like acorns, leaves, straw carpet, leather shoe soles, oak joists & floors, iron tools, animal dung & stable flies, and thin wooden postcard-sized writing tablets survived some 1900 years to tell the tale.
The hobnailed leather shoe sole of a Roman soldier that
I excavated at Vindolanda in 2005; quite a thrill!
The famous Vindolanda "birthday invitation" from the wife
of one fort's commander to another's; circa AD 100
These artifacts didn't reveal their secrets all by themselves. Tireless work by archaeologists, conservationists, linguists, and historians over decades has pieced the details together. Because of the care they have taken to fit everything in its place, they now have a story of real, named people and real life on the very frontier of "civilization" from an ancient time.

When I started the Flotsam Diaries, now almost two years ago, I realized that studying flotsam was, in essence, just another form of archaeology. The physical remains of human activity. The archaeologist in me knew -- and knows -- that each thing that washes up isn't just junk. It's got a story to tell. The trick is learning how to read the story.

When, where, and how was it lost? What did it encounter while it was out there in the deep? What did its path to my shore look like? What combination of forces finally brought it out of the depths and amid the sand at my feet?

Some items offer tantalizing clues for where to start:
40+ of these washed up over a few weeks in summer '11 --
suggesting a much larger dump/accident in Canadian waters
Others tell tales of currents and gyres and the persistence of modern plastics:
4 million of these escaped from Hooksett, NH's sewage plant
in March '11; to reach so far north they must have first flowed
east, caught a Gulf of Maine mini-gyre, and got tossed back
Tens or hundreds of thousands of those disks are still unaccounted for. They're polyethylene, and float easily on the surface of seawater. They will probably be washing up on both sides of the Atlantic for years to come. The ones I find still look brand new, after 10 months in the harsh salty sea.

Other artifacts I find have spent long years in the watery grave.
The aluminum lid to a steel Schlitz beer can, in a style only
used from 1973 to 1975; it finally washed up in October 2011
Poignantly, many speak to one of the big problems of modern plastic junk in the ocean:
This Carmex tube washed up yesterday; punctures and
half-moon bitemarks on it are similar to many plastics I find
Some ocean fish species known to ingest (not just bite, but swallow and consume) plastic: menhaden, herring, rockling, pollock, silverside, croaker, tautog, goby, grubby, seasnail, flounder, cod, whiting, perch, bass, dolphin, wahoo, tunny, tuna, searobin, pinfish, spot, mullet. (Great write-up of the known science in a PDF file here.)

About 2/3 of the 630 lobster claw bands that I've collected have what the Gulf of Maine Research Institute has tentatively identified as cunner bite marks. It's not known if cunner ingest plastic, or just bite and reject. The point is, the ocean is brimming with toxic plastic garbage, and with sea creatures up and down the food chain that eat it.

All of the above to say, there's a difference between just looking at a piece of washed-in debris, and actually seeing it. Discovering the stories it has to tell. It's impossibly sad that we've polluted our oceans so much in such a short amount of time. That every tide brings plastics and other debris in with it. But if that's the case, the least we can do is really take the time & energy to see it. And to learn from it.