Sea Mer association : OSPAR results – Wimereux, Pas de Calais, France

The association assesses and counts waste for the OSPAR protocol on the two sites of the Boulogne littoral since the beginning of 2016. The results are transmitted to the national coordinator of the OSPAR European Commission which aims to establish the inventory of pollution in the Northeast Atlantic. More information can be found at

L’association réalise des comptages et la caractérisation des déchets conformément au protocole OSPAR sur deux sites du littoral boulonnais depuis début 2016. Les résultats sont transmis au coordinateur national de la commission européenne OSPAR qui vise à établir l’état des lieux de la pollution en Atlantique Nord-Est. Plus d’infos en français sur le site

The article (french) and waste results

Large amounts of marine debris found in sperm whales stranded along the North Sea coast in early 2016

30 sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) stranded along the coasts of the North Sea between January and February 2016. The gastro-intestinal tracts of 22 of the carcasses were investigated. Marine debris including netting, ropes, foils, packaging material and a part of a car were found in nine of the 22 individuals. Here we provide details about the findings and consequences for the animals. While none of the items was responsible for the death of the animal, the findings demonstrate the high level of exposure to marine debris and associated risks for large predators, such as the sperm whale.

Bianca Unger, Elisa L. Bravo Rebolledo, Rob Deaville, Andrea Gröne, Lonneke L. IJsseldijk, Mardik F. Leopold, Ursula Siebert, Jérôme Spitz, Peter Wohlsein, Helena Herr, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 112, Issues 1–2, 15 November 2016, Pages 134–141

The article

Microplastic particles in North Sea sediments 2015

Contents and composition of microplastic particles have been analysed in ten sediment samples from the Danish part of the open North Sea in 2015. The contents of microplastic particles in the size range 20-5000 μm were determined to be in the range of 192-675 particles per kg dry weight sediment, dominated by blue and blackcoloured particles, mainly as fibres, and particle sizes < 300 μm were dominating.

Jakob Strand and Zhanna Tairova, Aarhus University, DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, n° 178, 2016

The report

Plastic ingestion by pelagic and demersal fish from the North Sea and Baltic Sea

Plastic ingestion by marine biota has been reported for a variety of different taxa. In this study, we investigated 290 gastrointestinal tracts of demersal (cod, dab and flounder) and pelagic fish species (herring and mackerel) from the North and Baltic Sea for the occurrence of plastic ingestion. In 5.5% of all investigated fishes, plastic particles were detected, with 74% of all particles being in the microplastic (< 5 mm) size range. The polymer types of all found particles were analysed by means of Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Almost 40% of the particles consisted of polyethylene (PE). In 3.4% of the demersal and 10.7% of the pelagic individuals, plastic ingestion was recorded, showing a significantly higher ingestion frequency in the pelagic feeders. The condition factor K was calculated to test differences in the fitness status between individuals with and without ingested plastic, but no direct effect was detected.

Christoph D. Rummel, Martin G.J. Löder, Nicolai F. Fricke, Thomas Lang, Eva-Maria Griebeler, Michael Janke, Gunnar Gerdts, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 102, Issue 1, Pages 134–141, 15 January 2016

The article


Microplastic concentrations in beach sediments along the German Baltic coast

The contamination with microplastic particles and fibres was evaluated on beaches along the German Baltic coast. Sediments were sampled near the Warnow and Oder/Peene estuaries, on Rügen island and along the Rostock coast to derive possible entry pathways. Seasonal variations were monitored along the Rostock coast from March to July 2014. After density separation in saline solution, floating particles were found to be dominated by sand grains. Water surface tension is shown to be sufficient to explain floatation of grains with sizes less than 1.5 mm. Selecting intensely coloured particles and fibres, we find lower limits of the microplastic concentrations of 0–7 particles/kg and 2–11 fibres/kg dry sediment. The largest microplastic contaminations are measured at the Peene outlet into the Baltic Sea and in the North Sea Jade Bay. City discharges, industrial production sites, fishing activity and tourism are the most likely sources for the highest microplastic concentrations.


Andrea Stolte, Stefan Forster, Gunnar Gerdts, Hendrik Schubert, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 99, Issues 1–2, Pages 216–229, 15 October 2015

The article


Spatio-temporal distribution of floating objects in the German Bight (North Sea)

Floating objects facilitate the dispersal of marine and terrestrial species but also represent a major environmental hazard in the case of anthropogenic plastic litter. They can be found throughout the world’s oceans but information on their abundance and the spatio-temporal dynamics is scarce for many regions of the world. This information, however, is essential to evaluate the ecological role of floating objects. (…)

Martin Thiel and al., Journal of Sea Research, Vol. 65 (3), P. 368–379, 2011

The article