Project number: 2017-199
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $145,666.00
Principal Investigator: Bronwyn M. Gillanders
Organisation: University of Adelaide
Project start/end date: 3 Feb 2019 - 27 Aug 2020


Plastic pollution has become a significant environmental issue worldwide. World plastics production has increased from around 1.9 million tons in 1950 to more than 330 million tons in 2013 (Worm et al. 2017). Although governments are looking to reduce use of plastics, it is still appearing in marine environments. Besides plastic objects entering the ocean and being broken down into smaller pieces, waste water and runoff also carry microplastics (plastics


1. Determine how widespread the presence of plastics in Australian seafood sold for human consumption is and how this varies across the country including from metropolitan and non-metropolitan markets
2. Place the presence/absence of plastics in Australian seafood into the international context

Project products

Poster • 2019-09-09 • 3.71 MB


Plastic pollution is a significant worldwide issue with an increasing number of studies finding that organisms of many taxa ingest microplastics. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of plastics in Australian fish and invertebrates sold for human consumption and to place the resulting information in an international context. Fish and invertebrates from 25 different species were sourced from throughout Australia and investigated for microplastics. The frequency of occurrence (number of organisms with plastic present) and plastic load (number of pieces of microplastic were recorded. Microplastics were found in 44% of all organisms with some variation among states. Microplastic load varied greatly among organisms but averaged just 1.02 pieces per organism. This study has provided industry, managers and policy makers with baseline data on microplastics in Australian fish and invertebrates. It has provided consumers with confidence that the seafood industry is taking a proactive stance in relation to potential plastic pollution in fish and invertebrates.

Related research


Oyster Industry Response to the COVID19 Crisis

1. To prepare a brief to governments and industry describing the most useful activities that could be carried out to support improved oyster sales across the whole industry .
Oysters Australia Ltd