Plastic pollution has increased dramatically worldwide and is having a detrimental effect on a variety of marine organisms. This study contributes to the existing data on the ingestion of both macroplastics and microplastics by one elasmobranch species, the small-spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula), considering the occurrence in males and females. Plastics were extracted from the stomach and spiral valve of (N = 200, n = 100 females and n = 100 males) and analysed by visual observations. A total of 28 pieces of plastic were found with five pieces extracted from a single individual. Overall findings indicate that this shark species is vulnerable to some extent to plastic ingestion (6.5% frequency of occurrence), but different aspects, such as differences in plastic contamination levels of different locations and ability to regurgitate stomach content, may affect the results of similar studies.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Alomar C, Deudero S (2017) Evidence of microplastic ingestion in the shark Galeus melastomus Rafinesque, 1810 in the continental shelf off the western Mediterranean Sea. Environ Pollut 223:223–229
Anastasopoulou A, Fortibuoni T (2019) Impact of plastic pollution on marine life in the Mediterranean Sea. In: The handbook of environmental chemistry. Springer, Berlin. https://doi.org/10.1007/698_2019_421
Andrady A (2017) The plastic in microplastics: a review. Mar Pollut Bull 119(1):12–22
Bernardini I, Garibaldi F, Canesi L, Fossi M, Baini M (2018) First data on plastic ingestion by blue sharks (Prionace glauca) from the Ligurian Sea (North-Western Mediterranean Sea). Mar Pollut Bull 135:303–310
Bhatta S, Iwai T, Miura C, Higuchi M, Shimizu-Yamaguchi S, Fukada H, Miura T (2012) Gonads directly regulate growth in teleosts. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(28):11408–11412
Bower K (2003) When to use fisher’s exact test. American Society for Quality. http://minitab17.com/uploadedFiles/Content/News/Published_Articles/fisher_exact_test.pdf. Accessed on 22 January 2020
Bråte I, Eidsvoll D, Steindal C, Thomas K (2016) Plastic ingestion by Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) from the Norwegian coast. Mar Pollut Bull 112(1–2):105–110
Capapé C, Mnasri-Sioudi N, El Kamel-Moutalibi O, Boumaïza M, Amor M, Reynaud C (2014) Production, maturity, reproductive cycle and fecundity of small-spotted catshark, Scyliorhinus canicula (Chondrichthyes: Scyliorhinidae) from the northern coast of Tunisia (Central Mediterranean). J Ichthyol 54(1):111–126
Chae Y, An Y (2017) Effects of micro- and nanoplastics on aquatic ecosystems: current research trends and perspectives. Mar Pollut Bull 124(2):624–632
Cole M, Lindeque P, Halsband C, Galloway T (2011) Microplastics as contaminants in the marine environment: a review. Mar Pollut Bull 62(12):2588–2597
Cousineau D, Chartier S (2010) Outliers detection and treatment: a review. Int J Psychol Res 3(1):58–67
Das K, Imon A (2016) A brief review of tests for normality. American Journal of Theoretical and Applied Statistics. http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo?journalid=146&doi=10.11648/j.ajtas.20160501.12. Accessed 22 January 2020
Dawson A, Kawaguchi S, King C, Townsend K, King R, Huston W, Bengtson Nash S (2018) Turning microplastics into nanoplastics through digestive fragmentation by Antarctic krill. Nat Commun 9(1)
Defra (2019) Torbay MCZ - Feature Maps. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/915379/torbay-mcz-feature-maps.pdf. Accessed 11 January 2021
De Witte B, Devriese L, Bekaert K, Hoffman S, Vandermeersch G, Cooreman K, Robbens K (2014) Quality assessment of the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis): comparison between commercial and wild types. Mar Pollut Bull 85(1):146–155
Ecomare (2020) All about sharks and lesser spotted dogfish | Ecomare Texel. Ecomare. www.ecomare.nl/en/in-depth/reading-material/animals/sea-fish/sharks/. Accessed 27 June 2020
Gibson C, Valenti S, Fowler S, Fordham S (2006) The conservation status of Northeast Atlantic Chondrichthyans. Peterborough: IUCN Species Survival Commission Shark Specialist Group. www.researchgate.net/publication/239612025_The_Conservation_Status_of_Northeast_Atlantic_Chondrichthyans_Report_of_the_IUCN_Shark_Specialist_Group_Northeast_Atlantic_Red_List_Workshop_IUCN_Species_Survival_Commission_Shark_Specialist_Group_New. Accessed 27 January 2020
Gravino F, Dimech M, Schembri P (2010) Feeding habits of the small-spotted catshark Scyliorhinus canicula (l., 1758) in the Central Mediterranean. CIESM. Malta: Ministry for Resources & Rural Affairs. 39th CIESM Congress -Venice, Italy 10–14 May 2010. www.researchgate.net/publication/235925250_Feeding_habits_of_the_small-spotted_catshark_Scyliorhinus_canicula_l_1758_in_the_Central_Mediterranean. Accessed 25 February 2020
Kim Y, Cribbie R (2017) ANOVA and the variance homogeneity assumption: exploring a better gatekeeper. Br J Math Stat Psychol 71(1):1–12
Kousteni V, Karachle P, Megalofonou P (2017) Diet of the small-spotted catshark Scyliorhinus canicula in the Aegean Sea (eastern Mediterranean). Mar Biol Res 13(2):161–173
Lenz R, Enders K, Beer S, Sørensen T, Stedmon C (2016) Analysis of microplastic in the stomachs of herring and cod from the North Sea and Baltic Sea. National Institute of Aquatic Resources. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/302423216_Analysis_of_microplastic_in_the_stomachs_of_herring_and_cod_from_the_North_Sea_and_Baltic_Sea. Accessed 31 March 2020
Lloret J, Faliex E, Shulman G, Raga J, Sasal P, Muñoz M, Casadevall M, Ahuir-Baraja A, Montero F, Repullés-Albelda A, Cardinale M, Rätz H, Vila S, Ferrer D (2012) Fish health and fisheries, implications for stock assessment and management: the Mediterranean example. Rev Fish Sci Aquac 20(3):165–180
Lusher A (2015) Microplastics in the marine environment: distribution, interactions and effects. In: Bergmann, Melanie, Gutow, Lars, Klages, Michael (Eds.) Marine Anthropogenic Litter, 1st edn, pp 245–307. Springer, Berlin
Lusher A, Hernandez-Milian G, O’Brien J, Berrow S, O’Connor I, Officer R (2015) Microplastic and macroplastic ingestion by a deep diving, oceanic cetacean: the True’s beaked whale Mesoplodon mirus. Environ Poll 199:185–191
Martí E, Martin C, Galli M, Echevarría F, Duarte CM, Cózar A (2020) The Colors of the Ocean Plastics. Environ Sci Technol 54:11:6594–6601
Mordkoff T (2016) The assumption(s) of normality. http://www2.psychology.uiowa.edu/faculty/mordkoff/GradStats/part%201/I.07%20normal.pdf. Accessed 20 April 2020
Munier B, Bendell L (2018) Macro and micro plastics sorb and desorb metals and act as a point source of trace metals to coastal ecosystems. PLoS One 13(2):0191759
Mukaka KK (2012) A guide to appropriate use of Correlation coefficient in medical research. Malawi Med J 24(3):69–71
Nakashima E, Isobe A, Kako S, Itai T, Takahashi S, Guo X (2016) The potential of oceanic transport and onshore leaching of additive-derived lead by marine macro-plastic debris. Mar Poll Bull 107(1):333–339
Nelms S, Barnett J, Brownlow A, Davison N, Deaville R, Galloway T, Lindeque P, Santillo D, Godley B (2019) Microplastics in marine mammals stranded around the British coast: ubiquitous but transitory? Sci Rep 9:1075
Nelms S, Eyles L, Godley BJ, Richardson PB, Selley H, Solandt JL, Witt MJ (2020) Investigating the distribution and regional occurrence of anthropogenic litter in English marine protected areas using 25 years of citizen-science beach clean data. Environ Pollut 263(B):114365
Neves D, Sobral P, Ferreira J, Pereira T (2015) Ingestion of microplastics by commercial fish off the Portuguese coast. Mar Poll Bull 101(1):119–126
NOAA (2018) Plastic in Mariana Trench. https://sos.noaa.gov/education/phenomenon-based-learning/plastic-in-mariana-trench/. Accessed on 23 Sept 2020
Nordic Council of Ministers (2017) Micro-and macro-plastics in marine species from Nordic waters. Nordic Council of Ministers. https://norden.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1141513/FULLTEXT02.pdf. Accessed 31 Mar 2020
Parton KJ, Godley BJ, Santillo D, Tausif M, Omeyer LCM, Galloway TS (2020) Investigating the presence of microplastics in demersal sharks of the North-East Atlantic. Sci Rep 10:12204
PlasticEurope (2019) Plastics – the Facts 2019. An analysis of European plastics production, demand and waste data. https://www.plasticseurope.org/application/files/9715/7129/9584/FINAL_web_version_Plastics_the_facts2019_14102019.pdf. Accessed on 23 Sept 2020
Renner K (2018) Particle size analysis, quantification and identification of microplastics in selected consumer products: a critical comparison of methods and analytical techniques. Ph.D. Dissertation. Brunel University
Renzi M, Specchiulli A, Blašković A, Manzo C, Mancinelli G, Cilenti L (2018) Marine litter in stomach content of small pelagic fishes from the Adriatic Sea: sardines (Sardina pilchardus) and anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus). Environ Sci Pollut Res 26(3):2771–2781
Rose S, Spinks N, Canhoto A (2015) Tests for the assumption that a variable is normally distributed. In: Rose S, Spinks N, Canhoto A (eds) Management research: applying the principles, 1st edn. Routledge, Oxfordshire
Smith L (2018) Plastic ingestion by Scyliorhinus canicula trawl captured in the North Sea. Mar Poll Bull 130:6–7
Stevens J (1973) Stomach contents of the Blue shark (Prionace glauca L.) off South-west England. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 53(2):357–361
The Wildlife Trust (2020) Small-spotted catshark. The Wildlife Trusts. Wildlifetrusts.org. www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/marine/fish-sharks-skates-and-rays/small-spotted-catshark. Accessed 27 Jan. 2020
Thompson R (2017) Environment: a journey on plastic seas. Nature 547(7663):278–279
Valente T, Sbrana A, Scacco U, Jacomini C, Bianchi J, Palazzo L, De Lucia G, Silvestri C, Matiddi M (2019) Exploring microplastic ingestion by three deep-water elasmobranch species: a case study from the Tyrrhenian Sea. Environ Poll 253:342–350
Van Franker J, Blaize C, Danielsen J, Fairclough K, Gollan J, Guse N, Hansen P, Heubeck M, Jensen J, Le Guillou G, Olsen B, Olsen K, Pedersen J, Stienen E, Turner D (2011) Monitoring plastic ingestion by the northern fulmar Fulmarus glacialis in the North Sea. Environ Poll 159(10):2609–2615
Vejdemo-Johansson M, Vejdemo S, Ek C-H (2014) Comparing distributions of color words: pitfalls and metric choices. PLoS ONE 9(2):e89184
Zhu L, Wang H, Chen B, Sun X, Qu K, Xia B (2019) Microplastic ingestion in deep-sea fish from the South China Sea. Sci Total Environ 677:493–501
The research has been fully financed by University Centre South Devon, Long Road, Paignton - TQ4 7EJ. United Kingdom. Authors would like to thank Brixham Fish Market and its personnel for their continuous support during the sampling phase.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Morgan, E., Hutchinson, D. & Gaion, A. Plastic Ingestion by the Small-Spotted Catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula) from the South West Coast of the United Kingdom. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-021-03129-3
- Plastic pollution
- Bioindicator organism