The ingestion of microplastics and natural fibres (<5 mm) was assessed for two commercial fish species in the western Mediterranean Sea: Sardina pilchardus and Engraulis encrasicolus. Gastrointestinal tracts from 210 individuals from 14 stations were examined with 14.28–15.24% of the small pelagic fish S. pilchardus and E. encrasicolus having ingested microplastics and natural fibres. A latitudinal increase in condition index (Fulton’s K) of S. pilchardus gave an indication that larger individuals with better physical condition are less likely to ingest microplastics and natural fibres. Fibres were the most frequent particle type (83%) and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) analysis indicated polyethylene terephthalate was the most common microplastics material (30%). Results from this study show that both microplastics and natural fibres of anthropogenic origin are common throughout the pelagic environment along the Spanish Mediterranean coast.
M. Compa, A. Ventero, M. Iglesias and al., Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 128, March 2018, Pages 89–96