Anthropogenic impact: Marine litter

Photo: Geir Wing Gabrielsen (NP)

Fisheries and other harvesting 2020
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Anthropogenic litter were observed at every fourth (pelagic) and every second (bottom) station, and plastic dominated among all observations. Amounts of plastic and other litter are relatively low in comparison to other sea areas.

Anthropogenic impact: Marine litter

Plastic dominated among anthropogenic pollutants on the water surface in 2020 as in 2019 (68.9 % and 59 % of observations consequently) (Fig. 3.9.6.1). The maximum surface observation of plastic litter was 0.33 m3, with the average of 0.014 m3, and this is little higher than in 2019 (0.21 m3, with the average of 0.01 m3). Due to currents, recorded debris could be dumped directly in some areas and transported from other areas. Wood was recorded in larger number of observations in 2020 (39 %) than in 2019 (22.1 %). The maximum surface observation of wood was higher in 2020 (2.8 m3, with the average of 0.4 m3) than in 2019 (1.96 m3, with the average of 0.12 m3). Metal, paper and rubber was observed singularly.

Figure 3.9.6.1 Type of observed anthropogenic litter (m3) at the surface in the BESS 2020 and 2019. Taken from the 2020 and 2019 BESS survey report (Prokhorova and Grøsvik, 2020; Prokhorova et al., 2021). Figure 3.9.6.1 Type of observed anthropogenic litter (m3) at the surface in the BESS 2020 and 2019. Taken from the 2020 and 2019 BESS survey report (Prokhorova and Grøsvik, 2020; Prokhorova et al., 2021).

Anthropogenic litter was observed in 24.6 % of pelagic trawl stations and 27.4 % of bottom trawl stations in 2020 and in 25.8 % of pelagic trawl stations and 43.8 % of bottom trawl stations in 2019 (Fig. 3.9.6.2 and 3.9.6.3). Plastic dominated from all anthropogenic matter in the both the pelagic and the bottom trawl stations in 2020 (88.5 % of pelagic stations and 92.6 % of bottom trawl stations with observed litter. This predominance of plastic among the anthropogenic litter is observed annually (Fig. 9.6.4). Thus, plastic was recorded in 96.5 % of pelagic stations with observed litter in 2019, in 94.7 % in the period of 2010-2013 and 95.6 % in the period of 2014-2018 (ICES, 2019). The same in the bottom trawls – 82.3 % of bottom stations with observed litter in 2019 compared with 81 % of stations in the period of 2010-2013 and 88.7 % in the period of 2014-2018 (ICES, 2019).

Weight of plastic litter from pelagic trawls in 2020 was from 0.1 g to 16 kg with average of 0.024 kg (except the single maximum catch of 16 kg). Weight of plastic litter in bottom trawls in 2020 was from 1 g to 14 kg with average of 0.11 g (except the single maximum catch of 14 kg). This is about the same amount as in 2019.

Unlike previous years, wood was not so widely registered in bycatch in 2020 (only 5.8 % of stations with observed litter compared with 24.8 % in 2019, 11.3 % in the period of 2010-2013 and 19 % in the period of 2014-2018) (Fig. 3.9.6.4) (ICES, 2019).

Another type of litter (textile, paper, metal, rubber and glass) was observed in trawls singularly.

Figure 3.9.6.2 Type of anthropogenic litter collected in the pelagic trawls in 2020 and 2019. Crosses indicate trawl stations. Taken from the 2020 and 2019 BESS survey report (Prokhorova and Grøsvik 2020; Prokhorova et al., 2021). Figure 3.9.6.2 Type of anthropogenic litter collected in the pelagic trawls in 2020 and 2019. Crosses indicate trawl stations. Taken from the 2020 and 2019 BESS survey report (Prokhorova and Grøsvik 2020; Prokhorova et al., 2021).

Figure 3.9.6.3 Type of anthropogenic litter collected in the pelagic trawls in 2020 and 2019. Crosses indicate trawl stations. Taken from the 2020 and 2019 BESS survey report (Prokhorova and Grøsvik 2020; Prokhorova et al., 2021). Figure 3.9.6.3 Type of anthropogenic litter collected in the pelagic trawls in 2020 and 2019. Crosses indicate trawl stations. Taken from the 2020 and 2019 BESS survey report (Prokhorova and Grøsvik 2020; Prokhorova et al., 2021).

Figure 3.9.6.4 Frequency of occurrence of plastic in pelagic and bottom trawls and wood in bottom trawls in the period of 2010-2013, 2014-2018, 2019 and 2020 during the BESS survey. Figure 3.9.6.4 Frequency of occurrence of plastic in pelagic and bottom trawls and wood in bottom trawls in the period of 2010-2013, 2014-2018, 2019 and 2020 during the BESS survey.

Litter from fishery was a significant part of plastic litter both in the pelagic and bottom trawls in 2020 (50.7 % and 67 %, respectively), as in 2019 (63 % and 44.1 %, respectively) (Fig. 3.9.6.5). Fishery related litter was recorded in 22.6 % of plastic litter observations at the surface in 2020 and 15.3 % in 2019 (Fig. 3.9.6.5). Fishery related litter was represented by ropes, rest of nets, floats/buoys etc.

Figure 3.9.6.5 Proportion of fishery plastic of the plastic litter collected in the pelagic trawls (to the left), bottom trawls (in the middle) and at the surface (to the right) in the BESS 2020 and 2019 (crosses – trawl stations). Figure 3.9.6.5 Proportion of fishery plastic of the plastic litter collected in the pelagic trawls (to the left), bottom trawls (in the middle) and at the surface (to the right) in the BESS 2020 and 2019 (crosses – trawl stations).

Logo ICES