Monitoring plastic ingestion by the northern fulmar Fulmarus glacialis in the North Sea

J. A Van Franeker, C Blaize, J Danielsen, K Fairclough, J Gollan, N Guse, P. L Hansen, M Heubeck, J. K Jensen, G Le Guillou, B Olsen, K. O Olsen, J Pedersen, Eric Stienen, D. M Turner

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

    78 Downloads (Pure)


    The abundance of plastics in stomachs of northern fulmars from the North Sea is used in the OSPAR Ecological Quality Objective (EcoQO) for marine litter. The preliminary EcoQO defines acceptable ecological quality as the situation where no more than 10% of fulmars exceed a critical level of 0.1 g of plastic in the stomach. During 2003–2007, 95% of 1295 fulmars sampled in the North Sea had plastic in the stomach (on average 35 pieces weighing 0.31 g) and the critical level of 0.1 g of plastic was exceeded by 58% of birds, with regional variations ranging from 48 to 78%. Long term data for the Netherlands since the 1980s show a decrease of industrial, but an increase of user plastics, with shipping and fisheries as the main sources. The EcoQO is now also used as an indicator for Good Environmental Status in the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEnvironmental Pollution
    Issue number10
    Pages (from-to)2609-2615
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Thematic list

    • Pollution
    • Coast and estuaries
    • Sea and coastal birds

    EWI Biomedical sciences

    • B280-animal-ecology


    Dive into the research topics of 'Monitoring plastic ingestion by the northern fulmar Fulmarus glacialis in the North Sea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this