from Sunday Herald, 24 April 2011
More than four out of five of the scampi in the Clyde Sea have been polluted by plastic waste posing a threat to human health and a £100 million fishery, a new scientific study has found.
Fibres of fishing nets and ropes, along with tiny pieces of polythene bags, have been detected in the stomachs of 83% of scampi, also known as langoustines, sampled from around the Isles of Cumbrae off Largs.
The plastic can make it difficult for the little orange-pink lobsters to feed properly, as it can bunch up into balls and cause blockages. It can also be contaminated by toxic chemicals which scientists say are ”a potential health concern” for humans.
The langoustine fishery is the most valuable in the UK, landing 42,000 tonnes worth £96 million in 2009. There are some 40 langoustine trawlers operating out of Clyde ports, plus 30-40 from other Scottish and Irish ports.
The study was carried out by scientists from the University of London, based at a marine biological station at Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae, and from the University of Aberdeen. It is being published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.