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Tiny pieces of plastic are being taken up by a range of different fish species with unknown effects on their health, according to a new study. Researchers examined the gut contents of ten different species of fish found in UK waters and showed that so-called ‘microplastics’ were found in all species.
Between 60 and 80% of marine litter is plastic. Although larger items are well documented, much less is known about distribution or effects of microplastics – fragments below 5mm in size. Such microlitter is given special consideration under the Marine Framework Strategy Directive1 and in a recent report experts recommended that approaches for sampling this marine litter should be standardised, both in terms of methods and coverage.
There is particular concern that these particles could clog or carry harmful pollutants into the guts of marine animals. Sea creatures, including crustaceans and mussels, have been shown to ingest these microplastics…
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