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Distribution and sources of macrolitter on the seafloor of Belgian fisheries areas
De Witte, B.; Verlé, K.; Devriese, L.; Vandecasteele, L.; Torreele, E.; Hostens, K. (2021). Distribution and sources of macrolitter on the seafloor of Belgian fisheries areas. ILVO Mededeling, 275. Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO): Merelbeke. 28 pp.
Part of: ILVO Mededeling. Instituut voor Landbouw- en Visserijonderzoek (ILVO): Merelbeke. ISSN 1784-3197, more

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  • Vandecasteele, L., more
  • Torreele, E., more
  • Hostens, K., more

    Marine litter has been recognised as a global environmental concern. Vast quantities of plastic litter enter the ocean (Jambeck et al., 2015; Galgani et al., 2021). Marine litter may cause negative effects to the marine ecosystem as animals may swallow litter or get entangled, which can lead to injuries and even death of individual organisms. Litter may scour or smother the seafloor, which may impact fragile benthic habitats, reduce photosynthesis and prevent the movement of animals, gases and nutrients. Marine litter may also act as a vector for invasive species, transporting non-indigenous organisms into new areas where they can outcompete or prey upon native organisms. (OSPAR, 2017b). Within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), a primary aim is that composition, amount and spatial distribution of litter on the coastline, in the surface layer of the water column and on the seafloor are at levels that do not cause harm to the coastal and marine environment( 2008/56/EG; 2017/848/EU). Monitoring of seabed litter is therefore essential.

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