Monitoring of plastics in stomach of fulmars in the United Kingdom is coordinated by Wageningen Marine Research. This work implies close cooperation with many investigators from England and Scotland, including the Orkney and Shetland Islands. The cooperation has been running since 2002, when the international Save the North Sea campaign (SNS) started.
The long-term study shows a decrease in the quantity of plastics found in the stomachs of beached fulmars from the British side of the North Sea. In the Netherlands, such a decrease is observed with statistical significance. In the UK, the decrease is just not significant because of smaller sample sizes and local variations. But the similarity in the pattern is evident. The North Sea policy target is that a maximum of 10% of beached fulmars may have 0.1g or more plastic in the stomach. To comply with such a target, lines in the graph shown should go under that of the horizontal red line. There is still a lot of work to do.
Images say more than words
Graphs and statistical analyses are important, but images of plastics in stomach can clarify the story. The attached ‘finders’ document gives information on all birds analysed during a workshop early 2020, with photographs of plastics in the stomachs. Download this document from here.