Interim Report of the Working Group on Marine Litter (WGML)
The newly established ICES Working Group on Marine Litter (WGML) held its first meeting at ICES HQ, Copenhagen, Denmark, 23–27 April 2018. The meeting attracted 17 participants representing 9 ICES member countries. In addition, ICES staff members from the Data Centre, Anna Osypchuk and Marilynn Sørensen, participated in the meeting.
The goal of the WGML is to provide scientific guidance towards the international har-monisation of monitoring data for seafloor litter and microlitter. In addition, the WGML will function as a knowledge base for other international organisations regarding these two issues. The WGML mapped seafloor litter/microplastic monitoring approaches & issues amongst group members and discussed the best channels to distribute key infor-mation produced by WGML by establishing an overview of national and international drivers and linkages. Work on a combined road map on seafloor litter and microplastic for the next 1/5/10 years was initiated. The annual meeting was split into sessions on sea-floor litter and microplastic (2.5 days each).
The activities towards seafloor litter focused on reviewing and assessing the quality and potential uses of current data in ICES DATRAS. In general, coverage by year and country is quite good, but some data gaps exist. Issues with the existing data and methods were highlighted and used as a basis to outline approaches for harmonising sampling and categorisation approaches. These data issues hamper direct comparisons and harmonisa-tion, while restricting assessment products. To assist in the classification of marine litter in future, a photo library of litter items was produced. Finally, the WGML generated guidance documents and SOPs for sampling, data reporting and QA/QC, which included defined terminology.
The activities towards microplastic in ICES DOME included recommendations for sampling of microplastic in different environmental matrices (sediments, water, biota), identification and classification of microplastic materials, QA/QC, and creating an overview of existing microplastic datasets from WGML members. During the meeting ICES WGML tested the submission procedure for microplastic data to the ICES Data Centre.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee