Ulrike Kammann, Marc-Oliver Aust, Horst Bahl, Thomas Lang,
Marine litter at the seafloor – Abundance and composition in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea
Marine Pollution Bulletin,
Volume 127, 2018, Pages 774-780, ISSN 0025-326X,
Litter is present in all marine waters around the globe. It consists of several compound classes of which plastic is of special
interest because of its high abundance and possible threat to marine organisms.
The regional distribution, composition and abundance of large litter items (LI) at the sea floor of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea
were investigated based on 175 bottom trawls between 2013 and 2015.
Different types of marine litter >2.5cm were classified according to the protocol of the ICES International Bottom Trawl Survey. The results
showed considerable geographical variation:
In the North Sea, a mean litter abundance of 16.8LI/km2 was found, whereas the litter abundance in the Baltic Sea was significantly lower (5.07LI/km2). In general, plastic represented 80% of the litter items. During the study, some methodical aspects with possible impact on the results were identified that need to be addressed in future sampling campaigns.