Folder Impact of Marine litter

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pdf Acampora, H., et al. (2017). "Opportunistic sampling to quantify plastics in the diet of unfledged Black Legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) and Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo)." Marine Pollution Bulletin.

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Acampora-2017-Opportunistic sampling to quanti.pdf

Acampora, H., et al. (2017). "Opportunistic sampling to quantify plastics in the diet of unfledged Black Legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) and Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo)." Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Seabirds can interact with marine litter, mainly by entanglement or ingestion. The ingestion of plastics can lead to starvation or physical damage to the digestive tract. For chicks, it could additionally lead to reduced growth, affecting survival and fledging. This study quantified the ingestion of plastics by seabird chicks via an opportunistic sampling strategy. When ringing is carried out at colonies, birds may spontaneously regurgitate their stomach contents due to the stress or as a defence mechanism. Regurgitates were collected from nestlings of three different species: Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla, n = 38), Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis, n = 14) and Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo, n = 28). Plastic was present in all species, with the highest frequency of occurrence (FO) in Northern Fulmar chicks (28.6%), followed by Black-legged Kittiwakes (7.9%) and Great Cormorants (7.1%). The observed load of plastics on chicks, which have not yet left the nest, highlights the pervasive nature of plastic pollution.

pdf Amélineau, F., et al. (2016). "Microplastic pollution in the Greenland Sea: Background levels and selective contamination of planktivorous diving seabirds." Environ. Pollut 219: 1131-1139.

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Amelineau-2016-Microplastic pollution in the G.pdf

Amélineau, F., et al. (2016). "Microplastic pollution in the Greenland Sea: Background levels and selective contamination of planktivorous diving seabirds." Environ. Pollut 219: 1131-1139.
Microplastics have been reported everywhere around the globe. With very limited human activities, the Arctic is distant from major sources of microplastics. However, microplastic ingestions have been found in several Arctic marine predators, confirming their presence in this region. Nonetheless, existing information for this area remains scarce, thus there is an urgent need to quantify the contamination of Arctic marine waters. In this context, we studied microplastic abundance and composition within the zooplankton community off East Greenland. For the same area, we concurrently evaluated microplastic contamination of little auks (Alle alle), an Arctic seabird feeding on zooplankton while diving between 0 and 50 m. The study took place off East Greenland in July 2005 and 2014, under strongly contrasted seaice conditions. Among all samples, 97.2% of the debris found were filaments. Despite the remoteness of our study area, microplastic abundances were comparable to those of other oceans, with 0.99 +/0.62 m(3) in the presence of seaice (2005), and 2.38 +/1.11 m(3) in the nearby absence of seaice (2014). Microplastic rise between 2005 and 2014 might be linked to an increase in plastic production worldwide or to lower sea ice extents in 2014, as seaice can represent a sink for microplastic particles, which are subsequently released to the water column upon melting. Crucially, all birds had eaten plastic filaments, and they collected high levels of microplastics compared to background levels with 9.99 and 8.99 pieces per chick meal in 2005 and 2014, respectively. Importantly, we also demonstrated that little auks took more often light colored microplastics, rather than darker ones, strongly suggesting an active contamination with birds mistaking microplastics for their natural prey. Overall, our study stresses the great vulnerability of Arctic marine species to microplastic pollution in a warming Arctic, where seaice melting is expected to release vast volumes of trapped debris.

pdf Anderson, J. C., et al. (2016). "Microplastics in aquatic environments: Implications for Canadian ecosystems." Environmental Pollution 218: 269-280.

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Anderson-2016-Microplastics in aquatic environ.pdf

Anderson, J. C., et al. (2016). "Microplastics in aquatic environments: Implications for Canadian ecosystems." Environmental Pollution 218: 269-280.
Microplastics have been increasingly detected and quantified in marine and freshwater environments, and there are growing concerns about potential effects in biota. A literature review was conducted to summarize the current state of knowledge of microplastics in Canadian aquatic environments; specifically, the sources, environmental fate, behaviour, abundance, and toxicological effects in aquatic organisms. While we found that research and publications on these topics have increased dramatically since 2010, relatively few studies have assessed the presence, fate, and effects of microplastics in Canadian water bodies. We suggest that efforts to determine aquatic receptors at greatest risk of detrimental effects due to microplastic exposure, and their associated contaminants, are particularly warranted. There is also a need to address the gaps identified, with a particular focus on the species and conditions found in Canadian aquatic systems. These gaps include characterization of the presence of microplastics in Canadian freshwater ecosystems, identifying key sources of microplastics to these systems, and evaluating the presence of microplastics in Arctic waters and biota.

pdf Ardea Miljö (2001). Marine litter: Trash that kills, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

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Miljö-2001-Marine Litter - Trash that Kills.pdf

Ardea Miljö (2001). Marine litter: Trash that kills, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
Marine litter (marine debris) has become an increasingly serious environmental, economic, health and aesthetic problem around the world.
Marine litter items travel widely, over long distances, with ocean currents and winds, around sea areas and between oceas. It is found not only in waters, on the seabed or on the beaches of densily populated regions, but also in remote places far away from any obvious sources.
Marine litter is long-lived and active for decades, directly and indirectly. It consists to a very great extent of plastics, and of metal and glass - material that do not beark down easily or quickly.
Marine litter is a vicious killer of marine mammals, seabirds and many other life forms in the marine and coastal environment . It also entails subsantial economic costs and losses to, e.g. fishermen, boat owners in general, coastal communities, farmers, power stations and individuals.

pdf Ask, A., et al. (2016). Contaminants in northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) exposed to plastic. Copenhagen K., Nordic Council of Ministers.

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Ask-2016-Contaminants in northern fulmars (Ful.pdf

Ask, A., et al. (2016). Contaminants in northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) exposed to plastic. Copenhagen K., Nordic Council of Ministers.
Marine plastic pollution is a widespread and increasing problem. Due to the chemical and physical properties of plastic, it tends to persist in the marine environment over long periods of time where it has the potential to harm fauna and flora. Among the many threats posed by plastic, ingestion of plastic is frequently observed in a variety of species. Seabirds, and especially the Procellariiformes, are commonly found with high levels of ingested plastics. Apart from the physical dangers of ingested plastics (e.g. internal injuries and lodging in the digestive system), there is concern that the chemicals added to and adsorbed to the plastic could be absorbed by the bird and exert toxic effects. The aim of this study was to investigate this by expanding upon and comparing two datasets on northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) in relation to the contaminant concentration in selected tissues and ingested plastics.  Fulmars from the Faroe Islands were all bycatch victims from longline fisheries caught in 2011 and fulmars from Norway were predominantly bycatch from fisheries in 2012 and 2013, supplemented with a few individuals found beached. Upon dissection, plastic content in the stomach was quantified and tissues (liver for the Faroese fulmars and muscle and liver for the Norwegian fulmars) were frozen for subsequent chemical analyses. Tissues were analysed for a suite of persistent organic pollutants: polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, metabolites, organophosphate flame retardants, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and other pesticides. The data were then analysed statistically to examine whether there were associations between the level of ingested plastic and contaminant concentration in the fulmars, in addition to comparing contaminant burdens between Faroese and Norwegian fulmars. After correcting for the multiple testing, there were no statistically significant differences in contaminant concentrations between the various plastic ingestion groups. The contaminant concentrations in liver in Faroese and Norwegian fulmars were not significantly different after correcting for the multiple testing. Thus, it appears that ingested plastic is not a significant route of exposure to the adsorbed contaminants analysed herein for the fulmar.  

pdf Avery-Gomm, S., et al. (2012). "Northern fulmars as biological monitors of trends of plastic pollution in the eastern North Pacific." Marine Pollution Bulletin 64(9): 1776-1781.

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Avery-Gomm-2012-Northern fulmars as biological.pdf

Avery-Gomm, S., et al. (2012). "Northern fulmars as biological monitors of trends of plastic pollution in the eastern North Pacific." Marine Pollution Bulletin 64(9): 1776-1781.
Marine plastic debris is a global issue, which highlights the need for internationally standardized methods of monitoring plastic pollution. The stomach contents of beached northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) have proven a cost-effective biomonitor in Europe. However, recent information on northern fulmar plastic ingestion is lacking in the North Pacific. We quantified the stomach contents of 67 fulmars from beaches in the eastern North Pacific in 2009–2010 and found that 92.5% of fulmars had ingested an average of 36.8 pieces, or 0.385 g of plastic. Plastic ingestion in these fulmars is among the highest recorded globally. Compared to earlier studies in the North Pacific, our findings indicate an increase in plastic ingestion over the past 40 years. This study substantiates the use of northern fulmar as biomonitors of plastic pollution in the North Pacific and suggests that the high levels of plastic pollution in this region warrant further monitoring.

pdf Barnes, D. and P. Milner (2005). "Drifting plastic and its consequences for sessile organism dispersal in the Atlantic Ocean." Marine Biology 146(4): 815-825.

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Barnes-2005-Drifting plastic and its consequen.pdf

Barnes, D. and P. Milner (2005). "Drifting plastic and its consequences for sessile organism dispersal in the Atlantic Ocean." Marine Biology 146(4): 815-825.
Organisms have travelled the Atlantic Ocean as neuston and have rafted on natural marine debris for millions of years. Shipping increased opportunities for marine organism travel mere thousands of years ago but in just decades floating plastic debris is transforming marine rafting. Here we present a combined open-ocean and remote coasts marine debris survey of the Atlantic (from 68°S–78°N). Daily shipboard observations were made from the Southern Ocean to the high Arctic and the shores of 16 remote islands were surveyed. We report (1) anthropogenic debris from the most northerly and southerly latitudes to date, (2) the first record of marine biota colonising debris at latitudes >68°, and (3) the finding of exotic species (the barnacle Elminius modestus) on northern plastic debris. Plastic pieces dominated both open-ocean and stranding marine debris. The highest densities of oceanic debris were found around northwest Europe, whereas the highest stranding levels were equatorial. Our findings of high east-Arctic debris colonisation by fauna contrast with low values from west Arctic (though only two samples) and south Atlantic shores. Colonisation rates of debris differed between hemispheres, previously considered to be similar. Our two South Atlantic mega-debris shipboard surveys (10 years apart) found no changes in open-ocean debris densities but resurvey of a UK and an Arctic island both found increases. We put our findings in the context of the Atlantic literature to interpret spatial and temporal trends in marine debris accumulation and its organismal consequences.

pdf Barnes, D. K. (2002). "Biodiversity: invasions by marine life on plastic debris." Nature 416(6883): 808-809.

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Barnes-2002-Invasions by marine life on plasti.pdf

Barnes, D. K. (2002). "Biodiversity: invasions by marine life on plastic debris." Nature 416(6883): 808-809.
Colonization by alien species poses one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity1. Here I investigate the colonization by marine organisms of drift debris deposited on the shores of 30 remote islands from the Arctic to the Antarctic (across all oceans) and find that human litter more than doubles the rafting opportunities for biota, particularly at high latitudes. Although the poles may be protected from invasion by freezing sea surface temperatures, these may be under threat as the fastest-warming areas anywhere2 are at these latitudes.

pdf Bond, A. L., et al. (2010). "Auklet (Charadriiformes: Alcidae, Aethia spp.) chick meals from the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, have a very low incidence of plastic marine debris." Marine Pollution Bulletin 60(8): 1346-1349.

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Bond-2010-Auklet (Charadriiformes_ Alcidae, Ae.pdf

Bond, A. L., et al. (2010). "Auklet (Charadriiformes: Alcidae, Aethia spp.) chick meals from the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, have a very low incidence of plastic marine debris." Marine Pollution Bulletin 60(8): 1346-1349.
The ingestion of plastic marine debris is a chronic problem for some of the world’s seabird species, contributing to reduced chick survival, population declines, and deposition of contaminants via absorption in birds’ gastrointestinal tract. We analysed the frequency of ingested plastic in chick meals delivered by adults in four species of auklet – Crested (Aethia cristatella), Least (A. pusilla), Parakeet (A. psittacula), and Whiskered (A. pygmaea) – from three breeding colonies in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA over a 14-year period from 1993 to 2006. Among 2541 chick meals, we found plastic in only one – from a Whiskered Auklet on Buldir Island in 1993. While adult Parakeet Auklets have a high frequency of plastic ingestion (over 90%), no chick meals contained plastic. Unlike other seabirds, the planktivorous auklets do not appear to offload plastic to their chicks, and we conclude that auklet chicks are probably at a low risk of contamination from plastic debris.

pdf Bond, A. L., et al. (2014). "Plastic ingestion by fulmars and shearwaters at Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada." Marine Pollution Bulletin 87(1): 68-75.

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Bond-2014-Plastic ingestion by fulmars and she.pdf

Bond, A. L., et al. (2014). "Plastic ingestion by fulmars and shearwaters at Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada." Marine Pollution Bulletin 87(1): 68-75.
Plastic pollution is widespread in the marine environment, and plastic ingestion by seabirds is now widely reported for dozens of species. Beached Northern Fulmars, Great Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters and Cory’s Shearwaters are found on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada regularly, and they can be used to assess plastic pollution. All species except Cory’s Shearwaters contained plastic debris in their gastrointestinal tracts. Northern Fulmars, Sooty Shearwaters and Great Shearwaters all showed high prevalence of plastic ingestion (>72%), with Northern Fulmars having the highest number and mass of plastics among the species examined. There was no difference in plastic ingestion between sexes or age classes. In all species user plastics made up the majority of the pieces found, with industrial pellets representing only a small proportion in the samples. Sable Island could be an important monitoring site for plastic pollution in Atlantic Canada.

pdf Doyle, M. J., et al. (2011). "Plastic particles in coastal pelagic ecosystems of the Northeast Pacific ocean." Marine environmental research 71(1): 41-52.

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Doyle-2011-Plastic particles in coastal pelagi.pdf

Doyle, M. J., et al. (2011). "Plastic particles in coastal pelagic ecosystems of the Northeast Pacific ocean." Marine environmental research 71(1): 41-52.
The purpose of this study was to examine the distribution, abundance and characteristics of plastic particles in plankton samples collected routinely in Northeast Pacific ecosystems, and to contribute to the development of ideas for future research into the occurrence and impact of small plastic debris in marine pelagic ecosystems. Plastic debris particles were assessed from zooplankton samples collected as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) ongoing ecosystem surveys during two research cruises in the Southeast Bering Sea in the spring and fall of 2006 and four research cruises off the U.S. west coast (primarily off southern California) in spring, summer and fall of 2006, and in January of 2007. Nets with 0.505 mm mesh were used to collect surface samples during all cruises, and sub-surface samples during the four cruises off the west coast. The 595 plankton samples processed indicate that plastic particles are widely distributed in surface waters. The proportion of surface samples from each cruise that contained particles of plastic ranged from 8.75 to 84.0%, whereas particles were recorded in sub-surface samples from only one cruise (in 28.2% of the January 2007 samples). Spatial and temporal variability was apparent in the abundance and distribution of the plastic particles and mean standardized quantities varied among cruises with ranges of 0.004–0.19 particles/m3, and 0.014–0.209 mg dry mass/m3. Off southern California, quantities for the winter cruise were significantly higher, and for the spring cruise significantly lower than for the summer and fall surveys (surface data). Differences between surface particle concentrations and mass for the Bering Sea and California coast surveys were significant for pair-wise comparisons of the spring but not the fall cruises. The particles were assigned to three plastic product types: product fragments, fishing net and line fibers, and industrial pellets; and five size categories: <1 mm, 1–2.5 mm, >2.5–5 mm, >5–10 mm, and >10 mm. Product fragments accounted for the majority of the particles, and most were less than 2.5 mm in size. The ubiquity of such particles in the survey areas and predominance of sizes <2.5 mm implies persistence in these pelagic ecosystems as a result of continuous breakdown from larger plastic debris fragments, and widespread distribution by ocean currents. Detailed investigations of the trophic ecology of individual zooplankton species, and their encounter rates with various size ranges of plastic particles in the marine pelagic environment, are required in order to understand the potential for ingestion of such debris particles by these organisms. Ongoing plankton sampling programs by marine research institutes in large marine ecosystems are good potential sources of data for continued assessment of the abundance, distribution and potential impact of small plastic debris in productive coastal pelagic zones.

pdf Edwards, E. W., et al. (2016). "State‐space modelling of geolocation data reveals sex differences in the use of management areas by breeding northern fulmars." Journal of Applied Ecology 53(6): 1880-1889.

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Edwards-2016-State‐space modelling of geolocat.pdf

Edwards, E. W., et al. (2016). "State‐space modelling of geolocation data reveals sex differences in the use of management areas by breeding northern fulmars." Journal of Applied Ecology 53(6): 1880-1889.
Effective management and conservation of terrestrially breeding marine predators requires information on connectivity between specific breeding sites and at-sea foraging areas. In the north-east Atlantic, efforts to monitor and manage the impacts of bycatch or pollution events within different Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) management regions are currently constrained by uncertainty over the origins of seabirds occurring in each area.
Whilst Global Positioning System (GPS) loggers can now provide high resolution data on seabird foraging characteristics, their use is largely restricted to the chick-rearing period. Smaller light-based Global Location Sensors (geolocators) could provide valuable data during earlier phases of the breeding season, but additional information on their accuracy is required to assess this potential.
We used incubation trip tracking data from 11 double-tagged (GPS/geolocator) northern fulmars Fulmarus glacialis L. within a state-space modelling (SSM) framework to estimate errors around geolocator locations. The SSM was then fitted to a larger sample of geolocator data from the pre-laying exodus using the mean of these error estimates. Geolocator data were first used to compare the trip durations of males and females during this critical pre-laying period. Outputs from the SSM were then used to characterize their spatial distribution and assess the extent of within-colony variation in the use of different OSPAR management regions.
During the pre-laying exodus, fulmars from a single colony in the north-east of the United Kingdom foraged widely across several biogeographical regions, up to 2900 km from the colony. Most (60%) males remained within the North Sea region, whereas most (68%) females flew north, foraging within the Norwegian and Barents Sea. A small subset of birds (15%) travelled to the central North Atlantic. Foraging trips by males appeared to be shorter (x = 18 days, n = 20) than by females (x = 25 days, n = 19).
Policy implications. Our results of state-space modelling of geolocation data collected from northern fulmars show that within-colony variation in ranging behaviour during the breeding season results in sex differences in exposure to threats such as fisheries bycatch and marine plastics. Birds from a single colony dispersed over several north-east Atlantic management areas. These patterns have implications for interpreting trends in colony-based monitoring schemes, and European Union Marine Strategy Framework programmes using these seabirds as an indicator species for monitoring trends in marine litter and prioritizing efforts to mitigate its impact.

pdf Fife, D. T., et al. (2015). "Trace elements and ingested plastic debris in wintering dovekies (Alle alle)." Marine Pollution Bulletin 91(1): 368-371.

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Fife-2015-Trace elements and ingested plastic.pdf

Fife, D. T., et al. (2015). "Trace elements and ingested plastic debris in wintering dovekies (Alle alle)." Marine Pollution Bulletin 91(1): 368-371.
We provide the first report on winter concentrations of 32 trace metals from dovekies (Alle alle), a small, Arctic seabird that has a seasonal shift in diet from small zooplankton in the breeding season to larger zooplankton and small fish in the non-breeding season. Concentrations of selected trace elements, as well as stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope concentrations for a sample of 25 dovekies, were similar between adult males and females, and there was evidence that dovekies feeding at higher trophic levels had higher hepatic Hg. We also found plastic debris in nine of 65 (14%) gizzards examined. Our study helps provide a more complete picture of the foraging ecology and contaminant profile of dovekies, an important species in Arctic marine food webs.

pdf Fowler, C. W. (1987). "Marine debris and northern fur seals: a case study." Marine Pollution Bulletin 18(6): 326-335.

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Fowler-1987-Marine debris and northern fur sea.pdf

Fowler, C. W. (1987). "Marine debris and northern fur seals: a case study." Marine Pollution Bulletin 18(6): 326-335.
Since the early 1930s small numbers of northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) have been observed with various objects caught around their necks, shoulders and, less frequently, their flippers. The incidence of such entanglement increased following the mid-1960s when fishing effort in the North Pacific and Bering Sea increased and when plastic materials began to be used extensively in making trawl netting and packing bands. The current incidence of entanglement observed among subadult males on St. Paul Island (of the Pribilof Islands) is about 0.4%, a level at least two orders of magnitude greater than observed in the 1940s. Almost all entangling materials observed on subadult males ashore weigh less than 0.4 kg and are predominantly fragments of trawl netting and plastic packing bands. Most of the trawl netting debris found at sea or on beaches in the Bering Sea area consists of fragments larger than those found on the seals that return to the Pribilof Islands. During pelagic surveys, trawl netting debris is sighted at the rate of 0.2–3.1 fragments per 1,000 km. Between 10 and 17% of these fragments have been observed to contain entangled seals. Seals appear to become entangled after approaching and investigating debris. Entanglement involves both sexes and appears predominantly to involve young animals, which are occasionally observed entangled as groups in large debris. Entanglement in debris results in increased energy expenditures, especially while dragging large fragments of net at sea. Compared to non-entangled seals, entangled seals spend more time at sea, whether foraging, travelling, or both. Changes in pup numbers born and unexpected mortality in the first several years of life exhibit a relationship with entanglement to provide a correlative explanation for recent population dynamics. These factors collectively suggest that mortality of fur seals due to entanglement in marine debris contributes significantly to declining trends of the population on the Pribilof Islands.

pdf Fowler, C. W., et al. (1990). Studies of the population level effects of entanglement on Northen Fur Seals. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Marine Debris, NOAA Technical Memorandum, NMFS SWFC, 154.

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Fowler-1990-Studies of the population level ef.PDF

Fowler, C. W., et al. (1990). Studies of the population level effects of entanglement on Northen Fur Seals. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Marine Debris, NOAA Technical Memorandum, NMFS SWFC, 154.
Recent studies have focused on entanglement among the juvenile male northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, as a means of evaluating the effects of entanglement at the population level. Most entanglement-related field studies were conducted on St. Paul Island, Alaska, in the 1980's but the analyses include relevant data from the late 1970's. Reported here are the results of recent studies on monitoring of entanglement, estimates of entanglement-caused mortality, and the effects entanglement may have on the chances an animal is observed on the breeding islands. 
The observed proportions of seals entangled in 1985 and 1986 were consistent with those observed during the last few years of the commercial harvest (about 0.4%). The proportion observed in 1988 was 0.29%, the lowest observed since 1970. The change reflects a drop in the numbers of animals entangled in fragments of trawl webbing. The frequency of occurrence of trawl webbing among the entangling debris was about half the former levels whereas the proportion of seals entangled in other types of debris did not change. 
These studies confirm earlier estimates indicating that, after 1 year, the survival of seals entangled in debris light enough to permit the animals to return once to land is about half of the survival of nonentangled seals. Data indicate that the main factor contributing to the success of entangled animals that do survive is escapement from the debris. 
Rates at which entangled animals are resighted indicate that the proportion of animals resighted drops with an increase in the size (weight) of debris. 
Data from radio-tagged seals confirm that entangled seals go to sea for longer periods of time than do controls.

pdf Hammer, S., et al. (2016). "Plastic debris in great skua (Stercorarius skua) pellets corresponds to seabird prey species." Marine Pollution Bulletin 103(1): 206-210.

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Hammer-2016-Plastic debris in great skua (Ster.pdf

Hammer, S., et al. (2016). "Plastic debris in great skua (Stercorarius skua) pellets corresponds to seabird prey species." Marine Pollution Bulletin 103(1): 206-210.
Plastic is a common item in marine environments. Studies assessing seabird ingestion of plastics have focused on species that ingest plastics mistaken for prey items. Few studies have examined a scavenger and predatory species that are likely to ingest plastics indirectly through their prey items, such as the great skua (Stercorarius skua). We examined 1034 regurgitated pellets from a great skua colony in the Faroe Islands for plastics and found approximately 6% contained plastics. Pellets containing remains of Northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) had the highest prevalence of plastic. Our findings support previous work showing that Northern fulmars have higher loads of plastics than other sympatric species. This study demonstrates that marine plastic debris is transferred from surface feeding seabird species to predatory great skuas. Examination of plastic ingestion in species that do not ingest plastics directly can provide insights into how plastic particles transfer vertically within the food web.

pdf Herzke, D., et al. (2016). "Negligible impact of ingested microplastics on tissue concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in northern fulmars off coastal Norway." Environmental science & technology 50(4): 1924-1933.

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Herzke-2016-Negligible Impact of Ingested Micr.pdf

Herzke, D., et al. (2016). "Negligible impact of ingested microplastics on tissue concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in northern fulmars off coastal Norway." Environmental science & technology 50(4): 1924-1933.
The northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) is defined as an indicator species of plastic pollution by the Oslo-Paris Convention for the North-East Atlantic, but few data exist for fulmars from Norway. Moreover, the relationship between uptake of plastic and pollutants in seabirds is poorly understood. We analyzed samples of fulmars from Norwegian waters and compared the POP concentrations in their liver and muscle tissue with the corresponding concentrations in the loads of ingested plastic in their stomachs, grouped as “no”, “medium” (0.01–0.21 g; 1–14 pieces of plastic), or “high” (0.11–0.59 g; 15–106 pieces of plastic). POP concentrations in the plastic did not differ significantly between the high and medium plastic ingestion group for sumPCBs, sumDDTs, and sumPBDEs. By combining correlations among POP concentrations, differences in tissue concentrations of POPs between plastic ingestion subgroups, fugacity calculations, and bioaccumulation modeling, we showed that plastic is more likely to act as a passive sampler than as a vector of POPs, thus reflecting the POP profiles of simultaneously ingested prey.

pdf Kühn, S. and J. A. van Franeker (2012). "Plastic ingestion by the northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) in Iceland." Marine Pollution Bulletin 64(6): 1252-1254.

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Kuhn-2012-Plastic ingestion by the northern fu.pdf

Kühn, S. and J. A. van Franeker (2012). "Plastic ingestion by the northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) in Iceland." Marine Pollution Bulletin 64(6): 1252-1254.
In 2011, northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) from Iceland were used to test the hypothesis that plastic debris decreases at northern latitudes in the Atlantic when moving away from major human centres of coastal and marine activities. Stomach analyses of Icelandic fulmars confirm that plastic pollution levels in the North Atlantic tend to decrease towards higher latitudes. Levels of pollution thus appear to link to regions of intense human coastal and marine activities, suggesting substantial current inputs in those areas.