Ingestion of micro-litter in the deep-sea fish Phycis blennoides (Brünnich, 1768) along the Spanish Catalan coast

, Villodres Daniel, Dallarés Sara, Constenla María, Carrassón Maite.

The presence of micro-litter (ML) (including plastic beads, films, fragments and anthropogenic fibres, ¡ 5 mm) in aquatic environments has attracted increasing attention of the scientific community in the last decades. Specially, the Mediterranean Sea is one of the most affected seas on the planet by high concentrations of plastics. However, their presence and impact on biota are still scarce. In the present study, 42 specimens of the greater forkbeard (Phycis blennoides), were sampled from two different areas off the Catalan coast subject to different anthropogenic impacts (20 from off Barcelona and 22 from off the Ebro Delta). The gastrointestinal tracts (intestines and pyloric caeca, since stomachs were everted in almost all cases) of the fish were analysed to assess ML ingestion levels and composition. Fish biometric measurements as well as parasitological infection levels were also recorded in order to assess a possible effect of ML on fish health (condition indexes and parasitism). In addition, ML characterization was performed based on visual an FTIR analyses. According to results, presence of ML was observed in 72.72% individuals sampled off Ebro Delta and in 95% individuals sampled off Barcelona. Each specimen contained an average of 1.7 and 5.4 ML in Ebro Delta and in Barcelona, respectively. Ingested ML in Ebro Delta consisted in 97.4% fibres and 2.6% small fragments, and fibres showed a mean length of 1.64 mm and a mean diameter of 0.017 mm. Similarly, ML present in specimens from Barcelona consisted in 97.2% fibres and 2.8% small fragments, and fibres displayed a mean length of 1.68 mm and a mean diameter of 0.021 mm. Current results point to Barcelona as an area of more ingestion for MPs than Ebro Delta, probably due to higher environmental availability. Details about fibre composition and fish health indicators will be reported during the congress.

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