Plastic Ingestion by the Small-Spotted Catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula) from the South West Coast of the United Kingdom


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.

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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.

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Correspondence to Ellana Morgan.

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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).

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  • Plastic pollution
  • Catshark
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Bioindicator organism