The uptake of macroplastic & microplastic by demersal & pelagic fish in the Northeast Atlantic around Scotland

This study reports plastic ingestion in various fish found from coastal and offshore sites in Scottish marine waters. Coastal samples consisted of three demersal flatfish species (n = 128) collected from the East and West coasts of Scotland. Offshore samples consisted of 5 pelagic species and 4 demersal species (n = 84) collected from the Northeast Atlantic. From the coastal fish sampled, 47.7% of the gastrointestinal tracts contained macroplastic and microplastic. Of the 84 pelagic and demersal offshore fish, only 2 (2.4%) individuals from different species had ingested plastic identified as a clear polystyrene fibre and a black polyamide fibre. The average number of plastic items found per fish from all locations that had ingested plastic was 1.8 (± 1.7) with polyamide (65.3%), polyethylene terephthalate (14.4%) and acrylic (14.4%) being the three most commonly found plastics. This study adds to the existing data on macroplastic and microplastic ingestion in fish species.

Fionn Murphy, Marie Russell, Ciaran Ewins, Brian Quinn, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 122 (1-2), 15 September 2017

The article


Distribution of microplastics in the Scottish marine environment (PhD Project)

This PhD will investigate the prevalence and distribution of microplastics by examining water, sediments and biological samples from a suite of pre-determined locations along the Scottish coastline. Comparisons will be made between rural areas (low population density/small-scale industries) and heavily commercialised regions to elucidate differences between regions, with the expectation that commercial regions have higher levels of microplastics. The potential interaction and impact of microplastics with the bivalve aquaculture sector shall also be investigated. As this is a relatively new area of research, methods for the collection and separation of microplastics from water, sediment and biota samples will need to be developed and validated. Particle-based transport models will be developed, using existing hydrodynamic models and a range of particle behaviours, to predict microplastic distributions and hotspots. Initially, this modelling will be carried out at a national scale using Scottish Shelf Model climatology and hypothetical source regions. Smaller scale models, where available, will be used to investigate local distributions.  (…)

The student will be supervised by Dr Bhavani Narayanaswamy (SAMS – UHI), Dr Neil James (ERI-UHI) and Dr Andrew Dale (SAMS – UHI), in collaboration with Dr Brian Quinn University of the West of Scotland.Deadline 8/05/2017


Marine litter: Progress in developing an integrated policy approach in Scotland

Marine litter is a problem that undermines the Scottish Government’s vision for ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive, biologically diverse marine and coastal environments, managed to meet the long term needs of nature and people’. The impacts of marine litter extend to environmental, social and economic spheres but currently the understanding of effects is limited. It is clear however, that marine litter can impact on a range of resources and ultimately threaten policy goals such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and its focus on delivering a clean and healthy marine environment. The Scottish Government has initiated a process to advance a marine litter strategy as part of its response to the MSFD. This paper draws upon the literature and practice of environmental policy integration to identify opportunities and obstacles in the emerging policy response in Scotland. Ultimately, any marine litter strategy for Scotland should be innovative and forward looking, coordinating amongst the variety of sectors, users and instruments available—‘joining the dots’ to tackle the considerable challenges in educating the public and contributing to a zero waste Scotland.

Emily Hastings, Tavis Potts, Marine Policy, Vol. 42, Pages 49–55, 11/2013

Tide of plastic devastates marine food chain

MARINE life in one of ­Scotland’s biggest estuaries has been found to be riddled with pollution caused by ­plastic ­despite attempts to cut down on the amount entering coastal waters.

The findings have been made by marine biologists who discovered that up to 80 per cent of flatfish and 60 per cent of hermit crabs in the Firth of Clyde have ingested tiny pieces of plastic. (01/13)

The article