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Studying the risk posed by plastic litter to marine fishes
by German Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Government)
The German Government supports research addressing the sustainable use and management of living marine resources, including aspects related to the impact of anthropogenic environmental stressors such as marine pollution. An issue of growing concern in this context is the presence and effects of marine litter on marine organisms, including commercial and non-commercial fish species. The PlasM project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture aims at a better understanding of the presence and impact of plastic litter on fishes in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. The project PlasM contributes to the achievement of SDG 14 as well as the G7 Action Plan to Combat Marine litter.

Marine litter is a global problem. In particular, plastic litter in the sea is problematic due to its persistence and potential effects on marine organisms. In Europe, about 70-80% of total marine litter consists of plastics. Especially smaller particles, microplastics, which by definition are particles smaller than 5 mm, are regarded as ecologically relevant. Microplastics can be taken up by marine organisms, accumulate in the food chain and cause harm to the organism as well as being the source of contaminants. PlasM investigates the amount of plastic litter in marine fish in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea as well as in adjacent waters. In addition, the potential negative impact of plastic on fish health will be investigated by means of field and experimental studies. The overall aim of PlasM is a better evaluation of the risk posed by plastic litter to marine fishes.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): assessment of fish health regarding microplastics
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): strengthen awareness of conservation and sustainabel use of marine resources
see description
Other, please specify
Governmental funding
Basic information
Time-frame: June 2017 - May 2021
Johann Heinrich von Thuenen Institute, Federal Research Institute of Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries
Ocean Basins
  • North Atlantic
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) Unit 613, Head of Unit, 613@bmel.bund.de; FI@thuenen.de, +49 228 99 529 4128
D - 53123 Bonn, Germany
Other SDGs
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