Marine Mammals and Interactions with Debris in the Northeastern Atlantic Region: Synthesis and Recommendations for Monitoring and Research

Neil a. James, Anika Große

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Marine plastic pollution is a global problem, affecting a wide variety of marine organisms through the processes of ingestion and entanglement. Despite numerous reports of entanglement and ingestion of plastic debris by marine mammals, there is a lack of clear understanding regarding the spatial distribution and drivers of interactions between marine mammals and marine plastics in the northeastern Atlantic area. To address this, we undertook a synthesis of the published and grey literature in order to acquire information on known documented cases of ingestion of, or entanglement with, debris relating to marine mammals. We found that 62% of the 37 species present in the region were reported to have either ingested, or become entangled in, debris. There was a predominance of threadlike plastic related to entanglement, but it was also present in the ingestion data. However, we observed a great deal of inconsistency regarding the reporting of marine mammal–debris interactions. We therefore highlight the need for and recommend the development of a standardised approach to recording debris interacting with marine mammals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarine Plastics: Innovative Solutions to Tackling Waste
EditorsSiv Marina Flø Grimstad, Lisbeth Mølgaard Ottosen, Neil A. James
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-31058-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-31057-7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023

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