Plastic in North Sea fish

Source: Environmental Science&Technology

Environ. Sci. Technol., Just Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1021/es400931b
Publication Date (Web): June 18, 2013
Copyright © 2013 American Chemical Society


To quantify the occurrence of ingested plastic in fish species caught at different  geographical positions in the North Sea, and to test whether the fish condition is affected by ingestion of plastics, 1203 individual fish of seven common North Sea species were investigated: herring, grey gurnard, whiting, horse mackerel, haddock, Atlantic mackerel, and cod. Plastic particles were found in 3.2 % of the examined fish and in five of the seven species. In most cases only one particle was found per fish, ranging in sizes from 0.04 to 4.8 mm, with a median size of 0.6 mm. The frequency of fish with a plastic particle was significantly higher (7.2%) in the southern North Sea, than in the northern North Sea above 55°N (1.3%). The highest frequency (>33%) was found in cod from the British Channel. In addition, small fibres were initially detected in most of the samples, but their abundance sharply decreased when working under special clean air conditions. Therefore these fibres were considered to be artefacts related to air born contamination and were excluded from the analyses. No relationship was found between the condition of the fish and the ingested small plastic particles.

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