Trawl For Plastic

Welcome! Below are instructions in using a trawl to collect microplastic samples in oceans and watersheds. Download the materials and begin your research.

The Manta Trawl weighs 18 pounds and is 1.5 meters wide; it is made of aluminum with a 3 meters long, fine-mesh net. The mouth of the trawl is 60 centimeters wide, with two 45 centimeter floating wings on either side. It can be towed alongside a boat or stationed in a river to capture floating plastic on the water's surface while filtering debris through a fine-mesh net.

 

The High Speed Mini Trawl is smaller and lighter than the Manta; at 15 pounds it is designed to skim the water's surface at higher speeds, up to 8 knots. It has a 14 centimeter wide opening with two 50 centimeter wide wings, and can be towed alongside a boat or stationed in a river to capture floating plastic on the water's surface while filtering debris through a fine-mesh net.

5gyres high speed trawl

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What is a trawl? We have two types of trawls, both designed by 5 Gyres Research Director and Co-Founder Dr. Marcus Eriksen, shown in the video above. The Manta Trawl is 1.5 meters wide, made of aluminum with a 3 meters long, fine-mesh net; the mouth of the trawl is 60 centimeters wide, with two 45 centimeter floating wings on either side. The High Speed Mini Trawl is smaller than the Manta and designed to be used only with a small boat and to skim the water's surface at higher speeds, up to 8 knots. It has a 14 centimeter wide opening with two 50 centimeter wide wings. Both trawls capture floating plastic on the water's surface while filtering debris through a fine-mesh net.

How is a trawl deployed? You will need to rig a spinnaker pole off the beam of your boat so that you can tow the trawl on the water's surface without disturbance from your wake; you can also deploy the trawl from a bridge above a river.

Do I need a permit to trawl for plastic pollution? It depends. Permits are not required in the open ocean, outside of the Exclusive Economic Zone (200 miles from shoreline). However, there may be other permit requirements. 5 Gyres is not responsible for obtaining permits.

Reach out to carolynn@5gyres.org with any questions. Thanks!