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Mar Pollut Bull. 2019 Aug;145:295-305. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.05.042. Epub 2019 Jun 3.

Pinniped entanglement in oceanic plastic pollution: A global review.

Author information

1
Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028, South Africa.
2
Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028, South Africa. Electronic address: pjndebruyn@zoology.up.ac.za.

Abstract

Oceanic plastic pollution is a growing worldwide environmental concern, endangering numerous marine species. Pinnipeds are particularly susceptible to entanglement, especially in abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear and packaging straps. We searched three international databases to compile a comprehensive review of all reported pinniped entanglements over the last 40 years, with the aim to identify areas of concern and foci for mitigation. The majority of published records of entanglement emanate from North America and Oceania and are focused on a few populous species (notably, Zalophus californianus and Arctocephalus gazella). Reporting bias, skewed research effort and incomplete understanding of plastic pollution and pinniped abundance overlap, combine to cloud our understanding of the entanglement problem. Broader geographical effort in entanglement data collection, reporting of such data, and improved quantification of the proportions of populations, sexes and ages that are most susceptible, will aid our efforts to pinpoint priority mitigation measures.

KEYWORDS:

ALDFG; Entanglement; Ghost-fishing; Observer bias; Oceanic plastic pollution; Pinniped

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