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Ingestion of plastic by fish destined for human consumption in remote South Pacific Islands


Forrest, AK and Hindell, M, Ingestion of plastic by fish destined for human consumption in remote South Pacific Islands, Australian Journal of Maritime and Ocean Affairs, 10, (2) pp. 81-97. ISSN 1836-6503 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/18366503.2018.1460945


Plastic marine debris is increasingly recognised as one of the greatest threats to global oceans, and the humans who depend on them. This study documents plastic ingestion in 24 species caught or sold for human consumption in the South Pacific. Fish were collected from local fishermen and markets in remote locations, including French Polynesia, Lord Howe Island and Henderson Island (Pitcairn group). Gastrointestinal tracts of 126 fish were visually examined and plastic was found in 7.9% of individual fish and 25% of species. The plastics were mostly microplastics (fragments, nurdles and rope). There was no significant difference in plastic ingestion in relation to feeding style, length, region or species. This is concerning as plastic appears to be widespread across species, lifestyles and habitats. This is the first report of plastic in South Pacific fish, raising concerns about the transfer of pollutants in a region that is largely oceanic and heavily dependent on seafood. The remote locations of the study also provide evidence of the widespread nature of this issue.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:fish, plastic, marine debris
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Forrest, AK (Ms Alice Forrest)
UTAS Author:Hindell, M (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:131472
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2019-03-19
Last Modified:2019-04-15

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