MEPS 432:173-180 (2011)  -  doi:10.3354/meps09142

Plastic ingestion by mesopelagic fishes in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre

Peter Davison*, Rebecca G. Asch

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0208, USA

ABSTRACT: The oceanic convergence zone in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre acts to accumulate floating marine debris, including plastic fragments of various sizes. Little is known about the ecological consequences of pelagic plastic accumulation. During the 2009 Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastics Expedition (SEAPLEX), we investigated whether mesopelagic fishes ingest plastic debris. A total of 141 fishes from 27 species were dissected to examine whether their stomach contents contained plastic particles. The incidence of plastic in fish stomachs was 9.2%. Net feeding bias was evaluated and judged to be minimal for our methods. The ingestion rate of plastic debris by mesopelagic fishes in the North Pacific is estimated to be from 12000 to 24000 tons yr–1. Similar rates of plastic ingestion by mesopelagic fishes may occur in other subtropical gyres.


KEY WORDS: Marine debris · Plastic · Mesopelagic fishes · Ingestion · North Pacific Subtropical Gyre · Myctophidae


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Cite this article as: Davison P, Asch RG (2011) Plastic ingestion by mesopelagic fishes in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 432:173-180

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