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Marine debris from recreational fishing and plastic ingestion in two Australian fishes

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posted on 2022-10-10, 00:19 authored by Audrey-Rose Watson

Plastic is ubiquitous in our oceans and directly and indirectly threatens marine habitat and biota. Interactions such as entanglement and ingestion of plastics can cause serious health consequences and are thought to lead to stunted growth, reproductive abnormality and mortality in species. Surprisingly, however, there is little evidence to back up these claims in local Sydney fishes. This thesis, which assesses the impacts of plastics and other forms of debris on eastern Australian fishes, has two sections. The first reviews published literature marine debris associated with recreational fishing and its impacts. While the review is a global assessment, particular reference is made to temperate eastern Australian waters. The second section directly assesses the prevalence of plastic ingestion in two commercially and recreationally-important, wild-caught fish species in coastal eastern Australian waters: bluespotted flathead (Platycephalus caeruleopunctatus) and tailor (Pomatomus saltatrix). In this pilot study, individuals are assessed for the presence of plastics in the gastrointestinal tract, the liver and the muscle, and results considered in light of their feeding and life history strategies. Outcomes of this preliminary research are relevant for ecologists, managers, fishers, as well as food safety regulating bodies and consumers.


Table of Contents

Chapter One: Recreational fishing marine debris: is it a problem and how should we manage it? -- Chapter Two: Plastic ingestion and tissue transfer in commercially and recreationally important Australian fishes -- Concluding statement


A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Research

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University

Department, Centre or School

Department of Biological Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Jane Williamson

Additional Supervisor 1

Scott Wilson


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:






62 pages

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