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Too much litter: Brazilian beach-washed White-chinned Petrels show an increasing ingestion of “user plastic” fragments over three decades

Maria Petry and Victória Benemann (Laboratório de Ornitologia e Animais Marinhos, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, São Leopoldo, Brazil) have published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin on marine debris in corpses of White-chinned Petrels Procellaria aequinoctialis on 120-km shoreline surveys in Brazil over 11 years from 1990 to 2014.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Seabirds are amongst the most affected organisms by plastic pollution worldwide. Ingestion of marine debris has been reported in at least 122 species, and owing to the increasing global production and persistence of these anthropogenic materials within the marine environment, it is expected to be a growing problem to the marine fauna. Here we report evidence of an increasing frequency in marine debris ingestion and a decrease in the amount of plastic pellets ingested by White-chinned Petrels attending south Brazilian waters during the last three decades. Future studies comprising large temporal scales and large sample sizes are needed to better understand the trends of marine debris ingestion by seabirds. We expect our findings to highlight the need for prevention policies and mitigation measures to reduce the amount of solid litter in the oceans.”

A White-chinned Petrel pair duet, photograph by Ben Phalan

Reference:

Petry, M.V. & Benemann, V.R.F. 2017.  Ingestion of marine debris by the White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis): is it increasing over time off southern Brazil?  Marine Pollution Bulletin doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.01.073.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 07 July 2017