Publications

Plastic ingestion by harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) in the Netherlands

Bravo Rebolledo, E.; Franeker, J.A. van; Jansen, O.E.; Brasseur, S.M.J.M.

Summary

Abundance of ingested debris by seals has been mentioned as a potential indicator of marine litter in the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). A sample of 107 stomachs, 100 intestines and 125 scats of harbour seals from the Netherlands was analysed for the presence of plastics. Incidence of plastic was 11% for stomachs, 1% for intestines, and 0% for scats. Younger animals, up to 3 years of age, were most affected. This is the first quantitative study of plastic ingestion by phocid seals. The observed level of incidence is of environmental concern, but is low in the sense of suitability of seals for MSFD monitoring purposes.