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EMODnet Chemistry litter data maps: first release
28 March 2018

EMODnet Chemistry releases the fist preliminary partial maps for seafloor litter and for beach litter at European scale. These have a partial coverage and are possible only thanks to the synergy and active interaction with OSPAR, HELCOM, EEA, DeFishGear, ICES DATRAS, MEDITS, facilitated by MSFD Technical Group on MArine Litter and JRC.

Density maps for 2 "metacategories", namely fishing gear and single use plastics, are computed aggregating the data per MSFD regions and years. Data are provided by different sampling devices (gear types) and are not directly comparable between them. For the same gear type, data are normalized in items/km2 in order to improve the comparison through years, reducing the effect of differences in sampling efforts along time, as suggested in recent publications (e.g., Schulz, Marcus, et al. "OSPAR standard method and software for statistical analysis of beach litter data." Marine pollution bulletin 122.1-2 (2017): 166-175).

Most importantly, we need to remark that the definition of "fishing gear" and "single use plastic" "metacategories" is approximate (you can find it in the xls sheet), since these "attributes" are not originally considered during the sampling.

Overall distribution of seafloor litter categories per MSFD regions (for the moment, North East Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea data have been analysed) is also provided.

Density maps of average quantity of beach litter items per number of surveys for the decade 2000-2010 and after 2010. Data are aggregated as average number of items considering the number of surveys.

This represents a first preliminary effort produced with data from more than 150 beaches, more than 5,500 seafloor trawling hauls and a few micro-plastics surveys (see Data survey distribution map).

More complete maps will be available soon, including beach litter data made available by Member States in the framework of Marine Litter Baselines work undertaken by JRC. Keep posted

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