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Monitoring marine litter, a part of the joint Norwegian/Russian ecosystem survey in the Barents Sea. Bjørn Einar Grøsvik 1 , Elena Eriksen 1 , Tatiana Prokhorova 2 , Pavel Krivosheya 2. Institute of Marine Research PINRO, Russland. Stranded litter at Garnes, Bergen.

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monitoring marine litter a part of the joint norwegian russian ecosystem survey in the barents sea
Monitoring marine litter, a part of the joint Norwegian/Russian ecosystem survey in the Barents Sea

Bjørn Einar Grøsvik1, Elena Eriksen1,

Tatiana Prokhorova2, Pavel Krivosheya2

  • Institute of Marine Research
  • PINRO, Russland
eu good environmental status by 2020
EU: Goodenvironmental status by 2020

11 descriptors:

1- Biological diversity is maintained.

6 - Sea-floor integrity is at a level that ensures that the structure and functions of the ecosystems.

8 - Concentrations of contaminants are at levels not giving rise to pollution effects.

9 - Contaminants in fish and other seafood for human consumption do not exceed levels established by Community legislation or other relevant standards.

10 - Properties and quantities of marine litter do not cause harm to the coastal and marine environment.


▶ Main goal

  • Explore the environment and the biology of the oceans and coasts
  • Give advice to the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, the Food Safety Authority, the fishing industry and other stakeholders regarding management of the ocean and coast’s biological resources and environment
  • Communicate the research results
  • Develop technology for fisheries and catching
  • IMR has a free and independent role in all scientific questions

▶ Main focus areas

  • Aquaculture and coastal areas
  • Oceans
  • External influences
autumn survey activity

Joint Norwegian-Russian Ecosystem survey in the Barents Sea during autumn aimed to obtain capelin, herring, polar cod, blue whiting, shrimps and 0-group abundance estimates/ indices, and monitor the status of some ecosystem components and processes

Autumn survey activity

August-September: largest ice-free area and minimal stocks migration. Timing is optimal to reflect feeding success and for assessing pelagic fish stocks for assessment and fisheries management advice.

advantages with the present monitoring

Helmar Hanssen

Advantages with the present monitoring

Johan Hjort

highly functional collaboration between Norway and Russia

comprehensive spatial coverage and adequate resolution

the results/output covers important assessment tasks and some ecosystem components and processes

multidisciplinary focus increases the scientific knowledge about the ecosystem



litter observed at surface
Litterobserved at surface












litter in pelagic and bottom trawls
Litter in pelagic and bottomtrawls




Pelagic: contour

Bottom: without





still there are many questions
Still there are many questions
  • The litter registration is dependent of catchability

and the amount may be underestimated

  • We do not register degradation products

like microplastic and nanoplastic

  • To which degree may these be taken up by organisms?
  • And how it may affect their fitness
  • We do not know of which other pollutants that adsorbs to different types of plastic
plastic ingestion by the supralittoral amphipod orchestia gammarellus
Plastic ingestion by the supralittoral amphipod Orchestia gammarellus

Photo: Anlaug Furu Boddington


OSPAR: 15 countries together with EU, cooperate to protect the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic.

  • It started in 1972 with the Oslo Convention against dumping of hazardous waste in the Atlantic and the North Sea.
  • It was broadened to cover land-based sources and the offshore industry by the Paris Convention of 1974.
  • These two conventions were unified, up-dated and extended by the 1992 OSPAR Convention.
  • Annex on biodiversity and ecosystems was adopted in 1998 to cover non-polluting human activities that can adversely affect the sea.
  • We should work for reducing discharges of litter
  • Produce more environmental friendly and degradable plastic products
  • Improve methods and develop standards for monitoring
  • We need more knowledge on how litter or degradation products may effect ecosystem health