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Incidental ingestion of meso- and macro-plastic debris by benthic and demersal fish

López-López, Lucía, Preciado, Izaskun, González-Irusta, José Manuel, Arroyo, Nina Larissa, Muñoz, Isabel, Punzón, Antonio, Serrano, Alberto
Food webs 2018 v.14 pp. 1-4
Leucoraja, Scyliorhinus canicula, benthic organisms, demersal fish, diet, food webs, ingestion, microplastics
We examined the ingestion of meso- and macro-plastics by teleost fish and elasmobrachs with benthic- demersal dwelling habits, analysing the occurrence of this litter type on the diet of 39 of these species over the North-western Iberian Shelf Sea between 1999 and 2016. Plastic consumption seems to be incidental, occurring only in 7 of the 39 species examined, and in a very low proportion (<0.3% of individuals in all cases). The highest rates were found among benthic feeding elasmobranchs, including Leucoraja naevus, Scyliorhinus canicula and Galeus spp., the two latter being opportunistic scavengers. While our study rules out a high occurrence of meso- and macro- plastics in benthic fauna, the presence of micro-plastics in the diet of these species is still a major concern, as the deep sea is possibly a natural sink for these litter particles.