Marine Litter Distribution and Density in European Seas, from the Shelves to Deep Basins

Type Article
Date 2014-04
Language English
Author(s) Pham Christopher K.1, 2, Ramirez-Llodra Eva3, 4, Alt Claudia H. S.5, Amaro Teresa6, Bergmann Melanie7, Canals Miquel8, Company Joan B.3, Davies Jaime9, Duineveld Gerard10, Galgani FrancoisORCID11, Howell Kerry9, Huvenne Veerle A. I.5, Isidro Eduardo1, 2, Jones Daniel O. B.5, Lastras Galderic8, Morato Telmo1, 2, Gomes-Pereira Jose Nuno1, 2, Purser Autun12, Stewart Heather13, Tojeira Ines14, Tubau Xavier8, Van Rooij David15, Tyler Paul A.5
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Azores, Ctr Inst Marine Res IMAR, Horta, Portugal.
2 : Univ Azores, Dept Oceanog & Fisheries, Horta, Portugal.
3 : Inst Ciencies Mar ICM CSIC, Barcelona, Spain.
4 : Norwegian Inst Water Res NIVA, Marine Biol Sect, Oslo, Norway.
5 : Univ Southampton, Natl Oceanog Ctr, Southampton, Hants, England.
6 : Norwegian Inst Water Res, Bergen, Norway.
7 : Helmholtz Zentrum Polar & Meeresforsch, Alfred Wegener Inst, Bremerhaven, Germany.
8 : Univ Barcelona, Fac Geol, Dept Estratig Paleontol & Geociencies Marines, GRC Geociencies Marines, Barcelona, Spain.
9 : Univ Plymouth, Inst Marine, Marine Biol & Ecol Res Ctr, Plymouth PL4 8AA, Devon, England.
10 : Netherlands Inst Sea Res NIOZ, Texel, Netherlands.
11 : Inst Francais Rech Exploitat Mer IFREMER, Bastia, France.
12 : Jacobs Univ Bremen, OceanLab, D-28759 Bremen, Germany.
13 : British Geol Survey, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.
14 : Portuguese Task Grp Extens Continental Shelf EMEP, Paco De Arcos, Portugal.
15 : Univ Ghent, Dept Geol & Soil Sci, RCMG, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.
Source Plos One (1932-6203) (Public Library Science), 2014-04 , Vol. 9 , N. 4 , P. e95839
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0095839
WOS© Times Cited 432
Note CoralFISH (FP7 ENV/2007/1/21314 4)
Abstract Anthropogenic litter is present in all marine habitats, from beaches to the most remote points in the oceans. On the seafloor, marine litter, particularly plastic, can accumulate in high densities with deleterious consequences for its inhabitants. Yet, because of the high cost involved with sampling the seafloor, no large-scale assessment of distribution patterns was available to date. Here, we present data on litter distribution and density collected during 588 video and trawl surveys across 32 sites in European waters. We found litter to be present in the deepest areas and at locations as remote from land as the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The highest litter density occurs in submarine canyons, whilst the lowest density can be found on continental shelves and on ocean ridges. Plastic was the most prevalent litter item found on the seafloor. Litter from fishing activities (derelict fishing lines and nets) was particularly common on seamounts, banks, mounds and ocean ridges. Our results highlight the extent of the problem and the need for action to prevent increasing accumulation of litter in marine environments.
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Pham Christopher K., Ramirez-Llodra Eva, Alt Claudia H. S., Amaro Teresa, Bergmann Melanie, Canals Miquel, Company Joan B., Davies Jaime, Duineveld Gerard, Galgani Francois, Howell Kerry, Huvenne Veerle A. I., Isidro Eduardo, Jones Daniel O. B., Lastras Galderic, Morato Telmo, Gomes-Pereira Jose Nuno, Purser Autun, Stewart Heather, Tojeira Ines, Tubau Xavier, Van Rooij David, Tyler Paul A. (2014). Marine Litter Distribution and Density in European Seas, from the Shelves to Deep Basins. Plos One, 9(4), e95839. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :