Occurrence of plastic debris in the stomach of the invasive crab Eriocheir sinensis

The Chinese mitten crab is known as a pest causing damage to fishing gears and fish. On the other hand, this highly invasive species is considered a delicacy by Asian migrants and therefore commercially fished and sold in many countries. The ingestion of plastic by the Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis from the Baltic coastal waters (Poland) and the Tagus Estuary (Portugal) was studied based on stomach content analysis. As many as 13% of the 302 analysed males and females (38.07–89.07 mm carapace width) from both regions, contained microplastic in the form of strands and balls. Most of them were transparent. Ingested plastic particles were identified as fragments of fishing gears. Contamination with plastic may have a negative impact on this species as well as on higher trophic levels feeding on crabs.

Dagmara Wójcik-Fudalewska, Monika Normant-Saremba, Pedro Anastácio, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 113, Issues 1–2, 15 December 2016, Pages 306–311

The article

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