Litter on the seafloor along the African coast and in the Bay of Bengal based on trawl bycatches from 2011 to 2020
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMarine Pollution Bulletin. 2022, 184 . 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2022.114094
We present the occurrence of seafloor litter on the coast of Africa and in the Bay of Bengal based on records from the EAF-NANSEN Programme in 2011 to 2020. Litter bycatch records from 534 bottom trawls were standardized to km2 before analysis. Three percent of the records indicated areas of high littering and the highest densities occurred from 100 to 300 m in depth and 50 to 100 km from the coast. Littering was lower in the Indian Ocean compared to Atlantic Africa. Plastic objects and fishing gear dominated the recorded items (47 % and 22 % respectively) but, regional differences were pronounced. Plastic dominated North Atlantic and East African records (58 % and 80 % respectively) and fishing gear dominated (69 %) in South Atlantic Africa while records from the Bay of Bengal were a mix of categories. The relation between littering and population density, marine industry, major cities, and rivers is discussed.