Hundreds of Asian species travel from Japan to Oregon on floating plastic

Hundreds of Asian species travel from Japan to Oregon on floating plastic

The species have travelled across the ocean on floating debris(Stock image)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hundreds of Asian species have arrived in Oregon from Japan, after sitting on plastic cast out into the ocean by the Japanese tsunami seven years ago.

The debris is a fisheries dock, which was carrying species such as the Japanese shipworm, Asian shore crab and some fish, according to Popular Science.

Officials have already cleared the species away, over fears about what they could do to the American ecosystem.

This is not the first case of organisms travelling over the Pacific Ocean from Japan. In fact, during the last six years at least 634 objects have appeared in Washington and Oregon, carrying various lifeforms.

Scientists are monitoring this phenomenon and trying to ensure the species don't start to disrupt the local ecosystem.

Research has shown many large pieces of plastic ended up in the sea in 2011 after both an earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It is thought species will continue to arrive on debris for many years and the detritus will reach several countries around the world.

It is not clear what damage could be caused by the new species, and usually it takes years for any major disruption to occur.

However there have been several cases of species invading and conquering foreign lands, including fire ants, which have caused havoc in vast tranches of the United States, and pythons, which have rewritten the ecosystem in the everglades after being discarded by pet owners. 

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