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BE3 - Monitoring of plastic particles in stomachs of seabirds

FieldDescriptionValidated Entry
[Table title]Name of monitoring programmeMonitoring of plastic particles in stomachs of seabirds
[ProgrammeDescription]Description of the monitoring programme

OSPAR monitors and assesses plastics in the stomachs of northern fulmars in the Greater North Sea as one of its indicators of environmental quality. Fulmars are abundant and widespread seabirds known to regularly ingest litter, with nearly all individuals having at least some plastic in their stomachs. Although fulmars forage near the water surface, their stomachs may also contain items from deeper water or items that may be indirectly ingested through their prey.
The fulmar Indicator Assessment approach is based on a previous OSPAR Ecological Quality Objective (EcoQO). The monitoring program uses corpses of beached birds or individuals accidentally killed. OSPAR has a long term goal of less than 10% of fulmars exceeding a level of 0.1 gram of plastic in their stomachs. Research methods and results have been published in reports and peer-reviewed scientific literature and dedicated OSPAR Guidelines. While this indicator is currently used in the Greater North Sea it is also suitable for implementation in the Arctic and Celtic Seas, and has already been used in fulmar studies elsewhere in the North Atlantic and North Pacific regions.”

The fulmar indicator is used by North Sea countries for MSFD reporting for the criteria D10C1 floating litter and D10C3 ingested litter, respectively.
The fulmar assessment is performed and reported both at the Greater North Sea level (for OSPAR and MSFD) and the national level (for MSFD).

[OtherPoliciesConventions]Monitoring for other Union legislation or international agreements that contributes to the programme.OSP-CEMP
[Contracting Parties monitoring]

Which other countries are involved in practical implementation of this monitoring programme, and what is the degree of cooperation.

Coordinated data collection
[Contracting Parties supplying data] NL, DK, UK, NO
[Contracting Parties with an "opt out"] SE
[Temporal scope]Start (and end) date of the programme.1979 - 9999
[Spatial scope]Spatial coverage of the programme according to the jurisdictional zones of marine waters.EEZ (or similar, e.g. Contiguous Zone, Fishing Zone, Ecological Protection Zone)
[Aggregation of Data]At which scale can the data from the sub-programme be aggregated for environmental assessments?Greater North Sea
[MarineReportingUnit]Area(s) where the programme takes place.marineSubregion

[Monitoring Purpose]

Purpose of the programme aimed at collecting data and information.Pressures in the marine environment
[MonitoringType]Type of monitoring (in-situ, remote sensing, etc.).In-situ sampling land/beach
[Indicator Metric]Feature(s) monitored (ecosystem components, pressures, activities).PresEnvLitterSpp
[Elements]Element(s) monitored (e.g. species, habitats, contaminants).Artificial polymer materials
[Element Monitored] Other physical disturbance  -Marine Litter
[Parameter Measured]Parameter(s) monitored.MASS
[Monitoring Guidelines/Monitoring Method in place]Guidelines/protocols describing the method for monitoring.OSP-017
[MonitoringMethodOther]Guidelines/protocols describing the method for monitoring. 
[Quality Assurance Procedures in Place]In addition to a specified method, is there any additional Quality Assurance used?Other; methods developed under guidance of ICES and OSPAR and published in peer reviewed scientific literature (Guidelines for Monitoring and Assessment of plastic particles in stomachs of Fulmars in the North Sea area: Chapter 2.5) (OSPAR Agreement 2015-03)
[Quality Control]What type of Quality Control is used?Other QC: Control of general methodology as above; ongoing data quality by OSPAR-ICG-ML and OSPAR secretariat.
[Data submission Frequency (and deadline)]Frequency of the monitoringContinually
[Applicable MSFD GES Criteria]Indicator(s) to which the programme contributes.D10C1
[Data Depository]Link to where monitoring data can be accessed (Art. 19(3)
[Data Custodian] OSPAR
[Assessment Guidelines]
[Assessment tools available]  
[Nature of data] Unprocessed
BE3 - Monitoring of plastic particles in stomachs of seabirds