, Rodríguez-Romeu Oriol, Constenla María, Carreras-Colom Ester, Dallarés Sara, Padrós Francesc, Carrassón Maite, Solé Montserrat, Soler-Membrives Anna.

European anchovy is a fish species of great ecological and commercial importance. It has been suggested as a monitoring species in epipelagic environments and particularly, microplastics ingestion has been reported. However, the assessment of the potential impact of micro-litter (including plastic, non-plastic fibres and other particles) ingestion on wild fish is scarce. Thus, the aim of this study is to identify the potential impact of micro-litter ingestion in the condition and health status of this species. Anchovies from three different localities in the NW Mediterranean (including Barcelona) were sampled during 2019. Percentage of micro-litter occupation in stomach was calculated by morphological technique, classification and identification of micro-litter was performed by visual characterisation and FTIR and fish condition and health status was assessed by a multidisciplinary approach integrating the analysis of morphological fish condition indexes, histopathological assessment and enzymatic biomarkers. Preliminary results showed 52.2% of fish containing micro-litter in their gastrointestinal tract, from which 47.7% corresponded to particles (15.6% to films and 32.1% to fragments) and 52.3% to fibres. Mean intensity was 2.33 (SD = 1.58) items/individual. Particles were mostly of polyethylene (79.4%) and fibres of cellulose (78.9%). Average percentage of occupation of microplastics in the stomach was 2.30% ranging from 0.01% to 9.89%. Mild alterations were detected in some internal organs, including changes in the cytoplasm of hepatocytes, small inflammatory foci and presence of macrophages, most of which are also frequent in other wild fish species. Changes in the morphology of adipocytes of the fat tissue around pyloric caeca were also detected in several fish. No apparent correlation between the presence and amount of ingested micro-litter and fish condition indices, histopathological findings or biomarkers was found. These results point towards an absence of clear impact of the ingested micro-litter and a relatively good health status of the studied anchovy populations.

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