Diet and micro plastic ingestion in pelagic fish in the North Atlantic Ocean

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Mackerel, herring and blue whiting are pelagic fish species that feed in large stocks in Norwegian Sea during spring and summer. Plastic littering causes widespread plastic pollution in the marine environment, micro plastic being the most abundant form, and plastic ingestion has been reported for an array of taxa. The objective of this research was to establish the diet of mackerel, herring and blue whiting caught near the Faroe Shelf and in Norwegian Sea, with emphasis on plastic pollution. Stomach content from 159 individuals was examined. It was found that mackerel, herring, and blue whiting had a considerable dietary overlap and all three species contained plastic in form of fibres. Mackerel had a statistically significant higher plastic prevalence than herring, while there was no statistically significant difference in plastic prevalence between blue whiting and the other two species. 19.4% of mackerel, 12.1% of blue whiting and 5.1 % of herring contained plastic. The impact of micro plastic in organisms is yet to be understood, which leads to anticipate that the implications of micro plastic will be studied further.
Date of Award2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Náttúruvísindadeildin - Faculty of Science and Technology
SupervisorEyðfinn Magnussen (Supervisor), Eydna í Homrum (Supervisor) & Sjúrður Hammer (Supervisor)

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