The accumulation of microplastic pollution in a commercially important fishing ground.

dc.contributor.authorCunningham, Eoghan M.
dc.contributor.authorEhlers, Sonja M.
dc.contributor.authorKiriakoulakis, Konstadinos
dc.contributor.authorSchuchert, Pia
dc.contributor.authorJones, Nia H.
dc.contributor.authorKregting, Louise
dc.contributor.authorWoodall, Lucy C.
dc.contributor.authorDick, Jaimie T.A.
dc.descriptionPublication history: Accepted - 3 March 2022; Published online - 10 March 2022en_US
dc.description.abstractThe Irish Sea is an important area for Norway Lobster Nephrops norvegicus fisheries, which are the most valuable fishing resource in the UK. Norway lobster are known to ingest microplastic pollution present in the sediment and have displayed reduced body mass when exposed to microplastic pollution. Here, we identified microplastic pollution in the Irish Sea fishing grounds through analysis of 24 sediment samples from four sites of differing proximity to the Western Irish Sea Gyre in both 2016 and 2019. We used µFTIR spectroscopy to identify seven polymer types, and a total of 77 microplastics consisting of fibres and fragments. The mean microplastics per gram of sediment ranged from 0.13 to 0.49 and 0 to 1.17 MP/g in 2016 and 2019, respectively. There were no differences in the microplastic counts across years, and there was no correlation of microplastic counts with proximity to the Western Irish Sea Gyre. Considering the consistently high microplastic abundance found in the Irish Sea, and the propensity of N. norvegicus to ingest and be negatively impacted by them, we suggest microplastic pollution levels in the Irish Sea may have adverse impacts on N. norvegicus and negative implications for fishery sustainability in the future.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipEMC is supported by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Northern Ireland. NHJ is supported by an Envision Doctoral Training Programme Scholarship funded by the UK National Environment Research Council (NERC). EMC gratefully thanks Dave Williams and Hazel Clark for their technical assistance, Prof Jochen H. E. Koop for facilitating the µFTIR analysis at the Federal Institute of Hydrology, BfG, Koblenz, Germany, and Dr Jason Kirby for facilitating the microplastic analysis at Liverpool John Moores University.en_US
dc.identifier.citationCunningham, E.M., Ehlers, S.M., Kiriakoulakis, K., Schuchert, P., Jones, N.H., Kregting, L., Woodall, L.C. and Dick, J.T.A. (2022) ‘The accumulation of microplastic pollution in a commercially important fishing ground’, Scientific Reports. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-08203-2.en_US
dc.publisherNature Researchen_US
dc.rightsThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
dc.subjectConservation biologyen_US
dc.subjectEnvironmental impacten_US
dc.subjectMarine biologyen_US
dc.subjectPhysical oceanographyen_US
dc.titleThe accumulation of microplastic pollution in a commercially important fishing ground.en_US
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