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Majority of seabirds have ingested plastic - study
Dr Alex Bond, RSPB senior conservation scientist, said solutions to this problem require “more concerted action at its source on land".
Report underlines major threat to marine life

A new report has found 74 per cent of seabirds in the northeastern Atlantic region have ingested plastic.

Scientists collated data from all known studies on plastic ingestion and nest incorporation in seabirds around Northern Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Greenland, Svalbard, the Faroes and Iceland.

Marine plastic pollution is a growing environmental issue which poses a “major threat” to marine biodiversity, experts say.

Millions of tonnes of plastic enters the oceans every year, and plastic production is on the rise. Seabirds can ingest it, become entangled in it, or incorporate it into their nests, with potentially negative consequences for reproduction and survival.

Dr Alex Bond, RSPB senior conservation scientist, said solutions to this problem require “more concerted action at its source on land - 80 per cent of marine litter is thought to come from land - especially by producers and users.”

Around half of all plastic products are single-use only, but plastic never breaks down - it breaks up into smaller fragments that stay in the environment.

“As its density varies, it can be found throughout the water column, increasing the number of species which come into contact with it,” Dr Bond explained.

The northeastern Atlantic Ocean is an area of international importance to seabirds, yet there has been little research on how marine plastic affects different species over time, and regionally.

Dr Nina O’Hanlon, from the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso, said: “We actually know very little about the current prevalence of plastic ingestion and nest incorporation for many species, several, like the Long-tailed Duck and Atlantic Puffin, which are globally threatened.

“Only 49 per cent of the 69 species which are commonly found in the region have been investigated for plastic ingestion.”

Scientists say a multi-directional, coordination and collaborative effort is needed to gain a proper understanding of this issue.

 

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AWF Student Grant open for submissions

News Story 1
 Applications are open for the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Student Grant Scheme for innovative research projects designed to impact animal welfare.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students of veterinary science, veterinary nursing, agriculture studies and animal welfare are invited to submit their proposals to undertake research projects next year.

Grants are decided based on the project’s innovation, relevance to topical animal welfare issues and ability to contribute towards raising animal welfare standards. For more information visit animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
SPANA film highlights plight of working animals overseas

Animal welfare charity SPANA (The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) has teamed up with Brian Blessed and other famous voices to highlight the plight of working animals overseas.

In a new animated film, the celebrities raise awareness by showing the solidarity of the UK's own working animals on strike. A sniffer dog (Brian Blessed), police horse (Peter Egan) and sheepdog (Deborah Meaden) are shown ignoring their duties and protesting in solidarity with animals in developing countries.

SPANA chef executive Geoffrey Dennis said: "We are so grateful to Deborah, Peter and Brian for lending their voices to our new film, and for speaking up for millions of working animals overseas. SPANA believes that a life of work should not mean a life of suffering, and it is only thanks to people’s generosity and support that we can continue our vital work improving the lives of these animals."