Plastic ingestion by fish in the Southern Hemisphere: a baseline study and review of methods

Seon M. E. Cannon, Jennifer L. Lavers, Bianca Figueiredo

Marine Pollution Bulletin 107: 286-291 (2016)

Plastic ingestion is well documented among marine birds and sea turtles but fewer studies have investigated ingestion in fish, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere. We investigated the frequency of plastic ingestion in 21 species of fish and one species of cephalopod. The overall occurrence of plastic ingestion was 0.3%. Two micro-plastic items were recovered from the gastrointestinal tract of a single Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni). Ingestion rates were similar to other studies of fish conducted in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, however comparisons across species and locations are challenging due to the lack of consistency in the identification and classification of plastic debris. In response, we propose a standardised sampling protocol based on the available literature to provide a stronger basis for comparisons among existing and future studies of plastic ingestion in fish