Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 1000–1007 | Cite as

Fishing lines and fish hooks as neglected marine litter: first data on chemical composition, densities, and biological entrapment from a Mediterranean beach

  • Corrado BattistiEmail author
  • Silvio Kroha
  • Elina Kozhuharova
  • Silvia De Michelis
  • Giuliano Fanelli
  • Gianluca Poeta
  • Loris Pietrelli
  • Fulvio Cerfolli
Short Research and Discussion Article


We reported first data on the densities and chemical composition of fishing lines and fish hooks deposited on a Mediterranean beach. On a sampling area of 1.5 ha, we removed a total of 185,028 cm of fishing lines (density 12.34 cm/m2) and 33 hooks (density 22 units/ha). Totally, 637.62 g (42.5 mg/m2) of fishing lines were collected. We sampled 120 items entangled belongings to 7 animal taxa (density 6.49 items/100 m of fishing lines). We also observed a not quantifiable number of egagropiles (Posidonia oceanica spheroids), Rhodophyceae (Halymenia sp.) and segments of reeds of Phragmites communis, trapped in the fishing lines. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was used in order to identify the chemical composition of the fishing lines: 92% was made of nylon while 8.0% was determined as fluorocarbon based polymers (polyvinylidene fluoride). Because of their subtlety and reduced size, sandy beach cleaning operations should include at least two consecutive removal samplings: indeed, a part of this litter (12.14%) is not removed in the first sampling. The unexpected high density of fishing lines suggests specific management actions aimed to periodically remove this neglected anthropogenic litter.


Marine litter Removal sampling Algae Invertebrates Entanglement 



Michele Cento and Michele Coppola (Stazione Romana Osservazione e Protezione Uccelli, Rome, Italy) provided further information on birds trapped by fishing lines and hooks. We also want to thank the staff of the Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli (Alessia Colle, Marco Gustin, Alessandro Polinori, Massimo Soldarini, Monica Zanini), Egidio De Angelis and Massimo Biondi (GAROL—Gruppo Attività e Ricerche Ornitologiche del Litorale) who is carrying out a two-year project on the conservation of Charadrius alexandrinus’s nesting sites. Three anonymous reviewers provided a large number of comments and suggestions, which improved the first draft of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.‘Torre Flavia’ LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) Station, Protected Areas – Regional Parks ServiceCittà Metropolitana di Roma CapitaleRomeItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di ScienzeUniversità degli studi Roma TreRomeItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di BiologiaUniversità di Roma Tor VergataRomeItaly
  4. 4.ENEA-C.R. CasacciaRomeItaly
  5. 5.Department of Ecology and Biology Sciences (DEB)Tuscia UniversityViterboItaly

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