Occurrence of microplastics in the digestive tract of the European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) cultivated in the Canary Islands

, Sánchez Almeida Raquel, Hernández-Sánchez Cintia, González-Sálamo Javier, Villanova-Solano Cristina, Hernández-Borges Javier.

The European seabass is distributed in the eastern Atlantic, from Iceland and Norway to Senegal, including the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It is a demersal species that inhabits coastal waters down to 100 m deep, in various types of estuary and lagoon bottoms, although in the northern zone they migrate to deeper waters of the high seas during winter. It is a species of great commercial interest that is currently produced around several hundred thousand tons per year. In fact, it is the most important and widely cultivated commercial fish in the Mediterranean whose main producers are Greece, Turkey, Spain, Croatia and Egypt. In Spain, the Canary Islands, is the second major producer. Microplastics have been observed in a wide variety of fish with considerable variability in levels of contamination in different species and geographic locations. Farmed fish are not exempt of this problem and their monitoring is of special interest since little is known concerning the accumulation of microplastics in fish from major fish farms and mariculture areas. In the present work we have studied the presence of microplastics particles in the digestive tracts of several specimens of the European seabass cultivated in fish farms located in Canarian waters. The specimens were bought in local markets to guarantee their origin. After the dissection and extraction of the digestive tracts, their content was digested with KOH and the content filtered. Microplastics were visualized under a stereomicroscope and classified by shape, size and colour. From the 45 examined specimens, 66.7 % presented microplastics, mainly fibres (94.6 %), with an average of 2.2 items per fish and blue as the predominant colour (45 %).

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