Presence of plastic debris in loggerhead turtle stranded along the Tuscany coasts of the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals (Italy)

Source: Marine Pollution Bulletin

Authors: Tommaso Campani, Matteo Baini, Matteo Giannetti, Fabrizio Cancelli,
Cecilia Mancusi, Fabrizio Serena, Letizia Marsili, Silvia Casini, Maria
Cristina Fossi

Abstract

This work evaluated the presence and the frequency of occurrence of marine litter in the gastrointestinal tract of 31 Caretta caretta found stranded or accidentally bycaught in the North Tyrrhenian Sea. Marine debris were present in 71% of specimens and were subdivided in different categories according to Fulmar Protocol (OSPAR 2008). The main type of marine debris found was user plastic, with the main occurrence of sheetlike user plastic. The small juveniles showed a mean ± SD of marine debris items of 19.00 ± 23.84, while the adult specimens showed higher values of marine litter if compared with the juveniles (26.87 ± 35.85). The occurrence of marine debris observed in this work confirms the high impact of marine debris in the Mediterranean Sea in respect to other seas and oceans, and highlights the importance of Caretta caretta as good indicator for marine litter in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) of European Union.

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