Wageningen Marine Research, commissioned by the Dutch government, has published its annual report on the abundance of plastics in stomachs of northern fulmars found beached in the Netherlands. This concerns a monitoring assessment in relation to Dutch and European policies on marine litter in the North Sea area. This report evaluates data up to 2016. The slow improvement, first observed in last years report, has continued.
A long way to go
The observed decrease is statistically significant, but still 91% of beached fulmars has plastic in the stomach. The number of items per bird averages at 22.3 particles with a mass of 0.28 gram. The threshold value of 0.1 gram plastic in the stomach was exceeded by 50% of the fulmars. Policy makers have agreed that, on the long term, no more than 10% of fulmars may exceed the threshold. Thus, there is still a long way to go, but prospects are moderately positive.