Mysticeti and plastic debris (fwd)

From: Pita Admininstrator (
Date: Thu Jul 18 2002 - 10:36:17 EDT

From: MARMAM Editors <>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Subject: Re: Mysticeti and plastic debris (fwd)

From: Christina Lockyer <>

This represents a depressing piece of news, and is a sad reflection of our
general inattention to safe disposal of rubbish. The one thing that did
occur to me is that this number of bags seems a very high concentration by
chance in the stomach. Clearly plastic bags may float around and thus be
taken in by any filter feeding baleen whale. However there is also the
possibility of unsafe rubbish disposal by ferries that may merely toss large
collections of rubbish overboard while in transit. Thus the fault may not
rest precisely with individuals per se. Can we be certain that all
commercial ferries dispose of rubbish environmentally safely? Does anyone
have any information or comment?

Christina Lockyer.

-----Original Message-----
From: MARMAM Editors []
Sent: 8. juli 2002 19:32
Subject: Mysticeti and plastic debris (fwd)

Forwarded by Bernard Blanc. Amiti=E9s =E0 tous. From France.

Dear all,

On July 3th 2002, the Cotentin Cetaceans Study Group, with help of
the University of Caen (Laboratory of Marine Biology
and Biotechnology - Pr. Jean-Paul ROBIN, Conference Master), has
realized the analysis of the stomach content of a 3,97m
female Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) which was stranded on
April 6th on the beach of Lestre in Normandy
(France). This analysis has been realized by Brice DUBOIS (1st year
doctorate), Jean-Fran=E7ois De PIERREPONT (Student),
Fabrice KERLEAU (organizer of the GECC) and myself.

The stomach of this mysticeti contained a lot of plastic bags and
debris, which may constitute the cause of the death. We
have identified:
- 1 "free doks schools" crisps packaging made of plastic and
aluminium (end consumption date 7/20/02, english).
- 2 english supermarket plastic bags.
- 7 various colored dustbin bag fragments: black (one, 25x70cm),
white (one, 70x75cm) and blue.a
- 7 transparent plastic bags (complete and fragments): one,
90x30 cm and an other, 100x20cm.
- 1 food product packaging.
- ...
The all representents about 800g (humid weight).

We know that it exists different cases of plastic crasps
ingestion for leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) and odontoceti
species but we don't have any information on such a case for mysticeti

We ask for your help in this research of similar case for the Minke
whale and other mysticeti species.

Pictures of this observation are available on the french part of our
website: <>

Best regards.

Cotentin Cetaceans Study Group President
Tel (00 33 233 545 739 from UK or 011 33 233 545 739
from USA).
I can be contacted on (in urgency): (00 33 662 327 881
from UK or 011 33 662 327 881 from USA).

English translation by Guillaume DUPUY.

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