MARINE MACRO-LITTER CHARACTERIZATION IN THE SOUTH ADRIATIC SEA USING MEDITS DATA
Marine litter is one of the main sources of anthropogenic pollution in the marine ecosystem, with plastic representing a global threat. This paper aims to describe marine litter composition in the Southern Adriatic Sea (GSA18) involving three countries (Italy, Albania and Montenegro). Data were collected during 7 MEDITS trawl surveys from 2013 to 2019. In each haul, marine litter items were catalogued using 8 categories and 27 sub-categories described in the MEDITS protocol, weighed and counted. Along the time series no significant trends were detected in the indices investigated (frequency of occurrence, indices of abundance in number and in weight). Macro-litter was found widely distributed on the 97.3% of the positive hauls. The first two depth strata (10-50 m and 51- 100 m) are the more affected by the presence of litter (~65%), confirming that the distance from main urbanized areas could be one of main drivers for the litter dispersion. In the total area, plastic represented the litter category with the highest occurrence, followed by cloth and natural fibers, metals, glass or ceramic, rubber, wood processed and paper and cardboard. The three categories with the higher occurrence (representing the 87.3% of the litter weight) were analyzed in term of geographical distribution and sub-categories fractions. The present study confirms plastic (224.2 ± 57.6 items/km2 and 32.4 ± 13.8 kg/km2 ) as the most abundant litter category on the seabed, followed by cloths and metals. The plastic sub-category most abundant are bags (35.2 ± 5.4 items/km2 and 0.9 ± 13.8 kg/km2 ) and bottles (27 ± 8.4 items/km2 and 3.3 ± 1.3 kg/km2 ). The most important hotspots are located near Bar and along the coasts of the Gargano promontory.
L. CASCIARO1 , W. ZUPA1 , I. BITETTO1 , Z. IKICA2 , M. ĐUROVIĆ2 , A. PALLUQI3 , M. KULE3 , P. CARBONARA1 , N. MILONE4 , G. LEMBO1 , M.T. SPEDICATO1
*1COISPA Tecnologia e Ricerca s.c.r.l., Via dei Trulli, 18/20 - 70126 Torre a Mare (BA), Italy ; 2 Institute of Marine Biology, University of Montenegro, Kotor, Montenegro; 3Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Tirana, Albania; 4FAO AdriaMed, Rome, Italy.