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On World Reef Day, our creative director Luke Hosty departed for an expedition with Pew Trusts to the Pitcairn archipelago in the South Pacific. He’ll be working alongside his dive & film partner, Jon Slayer to capture the work of the 12 scientists on board and raise awareness of the marine protected area and the need to protect the ocean.

The Henderson Island expedition has two key objectives - Study the plastic pollution on Henderson Island and raise awareness of the waste in the context of the global problem of ocean plastics; and study and raise awareness of the Henderson marine environment – promoting the Pitcairn Island Marine Reserve and the benefits of large, fully protected marine protected areas.

A 2015 analysis (published in 2017) found that one of the Pitcairn archipelago’s four islands, Henderson, has more than 18 tonnes of plastic on its beaches: “the highest density of plastic debris recorded anywhere in the world”. The 38km2 island has more than 38 million pieces of plastic upon its shores.

Conservative estimates suggest that 3,500-13,500 new plastic items wash up on Henderson each day. One of its beaches, the 2 km long East Beach, is polluted by 30 million plastic items.

Alongside the scientific research, the team will be cleaning East Beach and will be collecting an estimated 10 tonnes of waste. 85% of that waste is estimated to be rigid plastics and so the expedition team will be exploring the feasibility of recycling the plastic on Pitcairn Island or via commercial partnerships.

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Henderson Expedition Team

 

 
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Robin Shackell

Deputy Governor of Pitcairn. British Consul General Auckland.

Responsible for day to day governance issues on the Pitcairn Islands; liaising and coordinating with the Administrator of Pitcairn; and working with the Mayor and Council of the Pitcairn Islands; management and oversight of the Auckland based Pitcairn Island Office. As British Consul General in Auckland and Dean of the Consular Corp, working to help deliver NZ political objectives and promoting UK interests and values at a senior level.

TEAM LEADER

Lead the expedition
• Co-ordinate the activities of the various teams.

• Manage the RIB operation in coordination with the Captain, teams and RIB operator.

• Ensure that risks are properly captured, assessed and mitigated. • Provide medical back-up as a qualified PHEC certificate holder.

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Jennifer Lavers

University of Tasmania

Research Scientist at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. She is a marine eco-toxicologist with expertise in tropical and temperate seabird ecology, plastic pollution (marine debris), invasive species management, and fisheries by-catch. Undertook the only extensive analysis of plastic pollution on Henderson in 2015.

HEAD OF SCIENCE TEAM

• Calculation of accumulation rates of plastic pollution

• Provenance analysis

• Litter survey on beach with items recorded by mass, number, GPS etc (see below ‘bulk clean-up)

• Micro-plastics analysis using bulk core samples

• Impact of plastics on Henderson Island hermit crabs

• Profiling plastic-associated chemicals, ongoing collaboration between Lavers and International Pellet Watch

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Johnny Briggs

Pew Trusts

Part of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project. Worked

closely with the Pitcairn Community as the Pitcairn Island Marine Reserve moved from concept to implementation. Continues to frequently liaise with Pitcairn community.

EXPEDITION COORDINATOR AND BEACH CLEAN-UP TEAM

• Working with the UK FCO and Pitcairn Island Council to help coordinate the expedition

• Will support any activities during the expedition which require assistance including the clean-up, MPA science and communications.

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Iain McGregor

Stuff

Iain has been a photojournalist for 22 years and has documented the early melt of sea ice in Antarctica, human trafficking in South East Asia, and the life of isolated tribes in Papua New Guinea. He has been recognised many times as one of New Zealand's leading photojournalists. He was 2016 NZ Geographic photographer of the year, 2016 Canon media awards videographer of the year and the 2018 NZ Press photographer of the year.

COMMUNICATIONS – DOCUMENTARY AND ARTICLES

Iain proposes to produce a series of documentary episodes and accompanying long-form articles, on the voyage, expedition and science for Stuff, NZ's most viewed news website.

Stuff is a subsidiary of Australia's Fairfax Media (now merging with Nine) - this combined with Vance and Iain’s extensive media contacts across the UK, open-up the possibility for further syndication.

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Simeon Archer-Rand

CEFAS (UK Government affiliated)

Simeon works with UK Government’s Blue Belt Programme helping the UK Overseas Territories develop and manage their marine protected areas. Simeon will be focussing on the subtidal habitats around Henderson, mapping the seabed and sampling areas for microplastics.

SCIENCE TEAM

• Intertidal and subtidal sampling of microplastics• Bathymetry analysis
• Biodiversity and Habitat Mapping

 
 
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Mandy Barker

National Geographic Society Grant for Research & Exploration 2018

International award-winning photographer whose work involving marine plastic debris has received global recognition. Working with scientists she aims to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the world's oceans whilst highlighting the harmful affect on marine life and ultimately ourselves.

ARTIST/PHOTOGRAPHER

• Image series – Create a new series of work based on the plastic found on Henderson;

• Work to impact an international audience though exhibitions and media via publications, magazines, print media etc.

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Alex Bond

Natural History Museum UK

Conservation biologist with a focus on the marine environment and island biology. Interests include seabirds, marine debris, invasive species, and globally threatened or extinct species

SCIENCE TEAM

• Assessment of chemical pollution in blood samples from Murphy’s Petrel and Masked Booby

• Collection for the museum of rats, but also of abandoned eggs, skeletons, and possibly skinks

• Avian natural history, including Murphy's Petrel & Crake courtship/ song

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Andrea Vance

Stuff

Andrea Vance is a senior journalist who has reported for many years on environmental issues. She has travelled to the sub-Antarctic Antipodes and Auckland islands to film and produce news features and stories for New Zealand's state broadcaster, TVNZ.

COMMUNICATIONS – DOCUMENTARY AND ARTICLES

• Andrea proposes to produce a series of documentary episodes and accompanying long-form articles, on the voyage, expedition and science for Stuff, NZ's most viewed news website.

• Stuff is a subsidiary of Australia's Fairfax Media (now merging with Nine) - this combined with Vance and Iain’s extensive media contacts across the UK, open-up the possibility for further syndication.

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Brett Howell

Howell Conservation Fund

Brett has over 15 years of experience working with environmental and business leaders to find solutions to problems such as marine pollution. He works to provide catalytic funding to conservation organizations working on scalable, market-based solutions to environmental issues in oceans and lakes and their surrounding terrestrial environments.

HEAD OF BEACH CLEAN-UP TEAM

• Macro-debris survey (bulk clean-up) which will generate additional scientific data (e.g. number of items, mass, GPS coordinates). After two weeks, the clean-up would also have, superficially, cleared a significant area of the beach of large items of waste. The resultant ‘clear’ beach would be recorded via time- lapse cameras (to be installed and left on the island) over subsequent months and years.

• It is estimated that the clean-up will generate approximately 10 tonnes of waste (85% of which will be rigid plastics).

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Jon Slayer

Force Blue

Jon is a talented film maker, enthusiastic environmentalist and habitual adventurer with extensive underwater and terrestrial filming experience. Jon has travelled to Pitcairn before to carry out conservation assignments.

COMMUNICATIONS – FOCUS ON MPA AND THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

Generate film on the Pitcairn Island Marine Reserve and Henderson marine wildlife, to raise awareness of the marine protected area and the need to protect the ocean. Filming capability includes aerial (drones), terrestrial and underwater in video and 360 video (Virtual Reality) and video production after the trip.

Street View – For google

Photography - still image capture aerial, terrestrial and underwater for use in promotional content.

 
 
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James Beard

Valpak

Recycling Services Manager at Valpak, a leading environmental compliance and consulting organisation providing a range of services to UK businesses. Leads the company’s recycling division. Valpak have kindly offered to part sponsor the expedition.

BEACH CLEAN-UP TEAM

• Work with Brett on the clean-up but will also play a key role in communicating the findings of the expedition when back in the UK working with clients and colleagues on a daily basis

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Jay Warren

Member of the Pitcairn Island Community

The Pitcairn Island community designated one of the largest no-take marine protected areas in the world in 2016 and takes an active ongoing interest in its environment.

KEY AREA

• Key area of work is to provide local context for communications teams, to manage transportation via zodiacs and to support the beach clean up team

Luke Hosty

Googsi Creative

Luke has harnessed his combined experience in multiple creative fields including free diving and military career, to embark on a career in documentary filming. Recently rounded off his education at the London MET Film School, studying Film Production and Documentary Filming

COMMUNICATIONS – FOCUS ON MPA AND THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

Generate film on the Pitcairn Island Marine Reserve and Henderson marine wildlife, to raise awareness of the marine protected area and the need to protect the ocean. Filming capability includes aerial (drones), terrestrial and underwater in video and 360 video (Virtual Reality) and video production after the trip.

Street View – For google

Photography - still image capture aerial, terrestrial and underwater for use in promotional content.

 
 
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The Vessel

Silver Supporter

The Government of Pitcairn Islands’ chartered freighter, Silver Supporter, will provide transport and a base for the expedition team.

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Supporters

The expedition is being supported by generous assistance from Valpak; Architectural & Community Planning Inc; The Zoological Society of London; The Pew Trusts; Blue Belt Programme (UK Government); Schwab Charitable; Toughsheet Environmental; Force Blue; Pitcairn Island Council; Pitcairn Island Government; Howell Conservation Fund; Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance; BMAS Agency

Deliverables

Research

Jennifer Lavers, Alex Bond, Simeon Archer-Rand

Plastic accumulation rates, provenance, mass, type, microplastics, impact on birds, bathymetry, biodiversity and habitat mapping will be studied. Research to be published in peer reviewed journals.

Clean up

Brett Howell, James Beard, Johnny Briggs, Jay Warren, Robin Shackell

Beach clean-up of 2km East Beach. Will generate additional scientific data. Will supperficially clear the beach and will collect an estimated 10 tonnes of waste.

Re-use

Pitcairn Island Community and/ or commercial partnership

85% of waste collected is estimated to be rigid plastics. The feasibility of recycling the plastics via use on Pitcairn Island or commercial partnerships is being explored.

Communications

Mandy Barker, Andrea Vance, Iain McGregor, Jon Slayer, Luke Hosty

Outputs include new material from world renowned artist Mandy Barker. Documentary episodes and articles. Videos and imagery of the biodiversity of Henderson. Google Streetview. A potential partnership with ZSL to leave time-lapse cameras on the beach to show return of plastics is being confirmed.

Sarah Steenland - Cruising Cartoonist

Sarah Steenland - Cruising Cartoonist

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