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Malaysia to host meeting on MH370 search plans

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KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia said it will have a two-day meeting with Australia and China starting Monday to talk about next steps in the fruitless search for missing flight MH370.

Malaysian state-run Bernama news agency late Saturday cited a Transport Ministry official saying the meeting would concentrate on “the future direction of the search operation for MH370”.

The three countries have said previously they will call off the Australian-lead hunt for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 if nothing is found in a designated search area in the remote Indian Ocean.

So far 105,000 square kilometres (40,500 square miles) of the 120,000-square-kilometre seafloor search zone has been covered without success.

Recent bad weather has delayed the expected completion of the search to August, Australian authorities said earlier this month.

The jet disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board in March 2014, and is presumed to have crashed into the sea far off Western Australia’s coast.

Several pieces of debris have been found thousands of kilometres (miles) from the suspected crash area but they have so far shed no light on what caused the disaster.

AFP

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Over 70% of deep-sea fish of Atlantic Ocean have ingested plastic : Study

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Fragments of plastic are found throughout the world, from nearly every continent to nearly every body of water. But, researchers recently have found 73 percent of Northwest Atlantic deep-sea fish are also eating it — the highest reported frequency of plastic-eating fish in the world.

Plastic particles were found in some of the most remote parts of the Atlantic Ocean with almost three quarters of a sample of more than 230 deep-water fish collected by NUI Galway scientists having ingested plastic particles.

The contamination level among the fish species, located in the northwest Atlantic thousands of kilometres from land and 600m down in the ocean, is one of the highest reported frequencies of microplastic occurrence in fish worldwide, according to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

The NUIG scientists, as part of the study, participated in a transatlantic crossing onboard the marine institute’s Celtic Explorer vessel.

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PhD candidate and lead author Alina Wieczorek said, “Deep-water fish migrate to the surface at night to feed on plankton [microscopic animals] and this is likely when they are exposed to the microplastics.”

During this research cruise they took dead deep-sea fish from midwater trawls such as the spotted lanternfish, rakery beaconlamp, stout saw-palate and scaly dragonfish.

Microplastics are small plastic fragments that commonly originate from the breakdown of larger plastic items entering the ocean. Other sources may be waste water effluents carrying plastic fibres from clothing and microbeads from personal care products. Due to their low density, most of these microplastics float at the sea surface.

The fish ranged in size from the smallest species the Glacier Lantern at 3.5cm to the largest species, the stout saw-palate at 59cm.

Agencies

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