A little less plastics in fulmar stomachs

Nieuws

A little less plastics in fulmar stomachs

Gepubliceerd op
27 oktober 2017

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.

Sometimes ingested plastics are lethal; A large piece of clingfoil in the stomach of Fulmar NET-2016-008 likely blocked passage of food and made the bird starve to death. Additional materials were a smaller sheet,tiny fragment, and rubber elastic band (in container, because degrading and sticky)
Sometimes ingested plastics are lethal; A large piece of clingfoil in the stomach of Fulmar NET-2016-008 likely blocked passage of food and made the bird starve to death. Additional materials were a smaller sheet,tiny fragment, and rubber elastic band (in container, because degrading and sticky)
Microbeads; The stomach of Fulmar NET-2016-019 contained aluminium foil and a range of different forms of plastics (industrial granule, threads, sheets, fragments and foamy bits. In fulmars we rarely find microbeads because normally, particles of that small size will quickly pass into the intestines and are excreted. This bird had two microbeads, small glassy spheres (top centre of the photo).
Microbeads; The stomach of Fulmar NET-2016-019 contained aluminium foil and a range of different forms of plastics (industrial granule, threads, sheets, fragments and foamy bits. In fulmars we rarely find microbeads because normally, particles of that small size will quickly pass into the intestines and are excreted. This bird had two microbeads, small glassy spheres (top centre of the photo).
Industrial pellets; On average, present day beached fulmars have about 2 industrial plastic pellets in their stomach, and approximately five times as much mass of plastic consumer debris. Fulmar stomach NET-2016-031 however, shows that also nowadays some birds may still contain many pellets (19 pellets left on photo) and a broad range of threads (top), foams (right), sheets (lower right) and fragments (centre) of plastic. Mass of plastic in this sample was 0.7303g, roughly 2.5 times the recent average.
Industrial pellets; On average, present day beached fulmars have about 2 industrial plastic pellets in their stomach, and approximately five times as much mass of plastic consumer debris. Fulmar stomach NET-2016-031 however, shows that also nowadays some birds may still contain many pellets (19 pellets left on photo) and a broad range of threads (top), foams (right), sheets (lower right) and fragments (centre) of plastic. Mass of plastic in this sample was 0.7303g, roughly 2.5 times the recent average.