Marine Pollution Bulletin
ocean dumping might be a viable option. They argued that a congressional ban on ocean dumping in 1988 was premature since there was little or no information to indicate that dumping would be harmful. In 1991 WHOI proposed an experiment to dump a million tones of sewage sludge on to the deep sea floor of the Atlantic Ocean and monitor the site. There was considerable opposition to this by environmental lobby groups who questioned the necessity for ocean dumping or its economics. The result was that WHOI's Marine Policy Center conducted a waste-management analysis culminating in the new report. The analysis suggests that future waste disposal needs could be met by using current disposal options in combination with waste reduction and recycling. The report does not support the experimental dumping and concludes that there is no great urgency in developing deep ocean dumping options for the future.
Great Barrier Reef Pollution Experiment Pollution due to inorganic nutrients is considered to be a major problem for marine ecosystems. The problem is most severe for tropical ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef, where the background concentrations of nutrient molecules are normally very low. In response to this potentially devastating problem, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the University of Sydney are collaborating on a project that aims to define the influence of elevated nutrients on coral reef ecosystems. The project has been called the ENCORE project (Elevated Nutrients on a Coral Reef Experiment) and involves funding to a large number of researchers from universities and institutions interested in the problem of nutrient pollution on coral reefs. The core of the project involves the artificial fertilization of a series of patch reefs in One Tree Island lagoon (southern GBR), each one of which is approximately 15m across and has a small ponded 'lagoon' at low tide. During low tide, inorganic nutrients will be applied to the patch of reef lagoons using nutrient dispersal devices which will be computer-controlled from a radio-base station situated at One Tree Island Research Station. The effect of four different treatments (each involving three patch reefs) will be explored. These are: (a) 10 btM ammonium, (b) 2 p,M phosphate, (c) 10 btM ammonium and 2 gM phosphate, and (d) control (ambient). Competitive funding has been awarded to research groups aiming to investigate a broad range of topics including bio-erosion, water chemistry and the physiological and ecological mechanisms by which coral reef plant, animal and microbial components respond to elevated nutrient concentrations. Baseline studies are currently in progress, and the application of nutrients is due to start in September 1993 and will continue for the next two years. PAT HUTCHINGS 474
Japanese Starfish Invade Tasmania The Tasmanian AS250 million shellfish industry is being threatened by a Japanese starfish. It appears to have arrived in Tasmanian seas via ship ballast water according to Dale Dryan, chief of the Tasmanian Fishing Industry Council. Already the starfish has cleaned out areas around the channel off Hobart and within the Derwent and Huon estuaries, removing the populations of crabs and molluscs. The AS40 million abalone industry is beginning to be attacked and isolated reports of invasion of shellfish industry have emerged from over 100 km of surrounding coastline. Mussel farms are already under attack and the oyster industry threatened. As yet, there seems to be no way of destroying the pest.
Reward for Cruise Ship Pollution Witnesses Half of the fine levied against P & O/Princess Cruises for illegal dumping at sea has been awarded to the two passengers who witnessed and video-taped the incident. P & O was fined $500,000, the maximum fine, when it was prosecuted when crew of the Regal Pnn('ess dumped 20 rubbish bags overboard off the Florida Coast (Mar. Pollut. Bull. 26, 295). The couple, Alvin and Marilyn Levett, therefore ended up with a $250,000 reward. The federal judge is entitled to award up to 50% of a fine to anyone providing evidence which helps to lead to a pollution conviction. P & O/Princess Cruises had offered to pay the maximum fine to avoid the case going to trial where six year jail sentences could have been given lo the company's top executives. The size of the fine coupled with the huge reward are expected to have a positive effect on deterring future dumping incidents. Not only will liners be actively discouraged from illegally polluting the sea but passengers on board ships are likely to keep a keen watch out for such incidents when the potential financial awards are so high. At least three other cruise liners are currently under investigation for pollution offences under the US Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act of 1987.
Hong Kong's New Sewerage System A British consultant's group, Montgomery Watson/ Mott Connel is to carry out a detailed design fl)r the first phase of a strategic sewerage project for Hong Kong. The work will be undertaken for Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department and will cost £350 million. The first phase is due to start by the end of 1994 and
Volume 26/Number 9/September 1993
entails the construction of 22 km of tunnel, up to 135 m deep, across the Kowloon peninsula from Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi in the west, to Shaukei Wan and Chai Wan in the east. Seven pumping stations and a 1.7 km interim outfall are also included. Further work, which will follow the Chinese handover in 1997, includes a 6 km tunnel from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island and a network of deep tunnels on Hong Kong Island and Lamina Island. The Environmental Protection Department has also placed consultancy contracts for monitoring the environmental impact of construction projects in Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi on the Kowloon Peninsula. These districts will become the colony's most congested areas when construction starts in earnest on a new highway, Tsing Yi south bridge, Hong Kong's new airport and railway and container terminals.
News-in-Brief Norway Production on Statfjord A was recently interrupted for about 48 hours because of an oil leak. The leak in an oil pipe in one of the platform's shafts resulted in the discharge of approximately 100 tonnes of oil. Fortunately, the oil ended up in the base of one of the shafts and none has been reported entering the sea. This was the biggest spill to date on the Statfjord field.
Great Britain British and Irish Oyster growers have been warned not to stock their shellfish farms with wild Pacific oyster seed from France. Apparently, the opening of the European Single Market has resulted in lorry loads of French oysters arriving infested with a Japanese worm parasite and the American slipper limpet. The Irish government has put a ban on the import of these oyster stocks and the UK Shellfish Association is pressing the British Government to follow suit. USA Twenty four owners of land have been awarded $45 million punitive damages by a US Federal jury in Augusta, Georgia, against Combustion Engineering Inc. for polluting streams running through their property and killing all aquatic life. The incident occurred after kyanite being strip mined drained from holding pits into the streams.
Taiwan Hundreds of illegal fish ponds which surround the area of the new Mailiao Industrial Zone are threatening a naphtha cracking plant by destabilizing the land. The plant is being planned by the Formosa Plastic Group. Apparently, the millions of gallons of water extracted from at least 435 deep wells drilled by the fish farmers pose a serious threat of land subsidence in the area as the underground water levels are depleted.