In October 2018 a report was published for the Danish Environmental Protection Agency on results of the national monitoring program of plastics in stomachs of Northern Fulmars beached in Denmark. Wageningen Marine Research in Den Helder, The Netherlands, coordinates the same type of research in Denmark as done for the Netherlands national program. Results of research from all countries around the North Sea are ultimately joined for the purpose of policies under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
The new report shows that in Denmark, during the current 5-year evaluation period (2013-2017; 13 birds) all birds had some plastic in the stomach. The averages were 25 plastic particles with a plastic mass of 0.16 gram per bird stomach. The level of 0.1 gram plastic in the stomach was exceeded by 54% of the birds. OSPAR has a long term target aiming to reduce this percentage to under 10%. The standard analyses in this program look at statistically relevant time series over the most recent 10 years. For Denmark, the 10 year time series indicates no relevant increase or decrease. However, over the longer period since the start of the program in 2002, a significant decrease has occurred in industrial plastic granules in the stomachs.
From the start of the monitoring program, Danish fulmars have been collected around the locality of Skagen, in the north. Unfortunately in recent years few fulmars are found beached in this region, reducing the statistical strength of the national Danish monitoring. Smaller national samples do represent a valuable contribution to the North Sea wide combined monitoring program. However, to increase the strength of the Danish program, we are looking for volunteers that would like to contribute to the sampling program along other sectors of the Danish North Sea coastline. By doing so, one makes an important contribution to reducing plastic debris in our oceans, because your work forms the basis for important policy decisions! For information about the fulmar project and contact information, please check our dossier.
Download the report:
Van Franeker, J.A., Kühn, S., Pedersen, J. & Hansen, P.L. (2018) Fulmar Litter EcoQO monitoring in Denmark 2002-2017. Report for the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. Wageningen Marine Research Den Helder, The Netherlands. 25pp.