Each year, IMARES investigates stomach contents of Northern Fulmars beached in the Netherlands.
These seabirds accidentally ingest plastic debris. The abundance of plastic in the stomachs is a useful monitoring tool for the amount of marine litter in the North Sea.
The research and annual reports are commissioned by the Netherlands Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Watermanagement, which uses the data to evaluate if policies for waste disposal by ships in harbours are sufficiently effective. The data, now updated to year 2008 unfortunately do not show improvement in recent years.