The researchers analysed the quantity of fish larvae, recently hatched fish and microplastics; particles of less than 5 millimetres resulting from the fragmentation of plastic, throughout the whole estuary and found that there was an average ratio of one larva per 1.5 particles of microplastics, Sandra Ramos, the researcher at CIIMAR in charge of coordinating the study, recently published in Science of the Total Environment.
The study, which began in 2016, aimed to “understand the ratio between fish larvae and microplastics” in the Douro estuary which serves as a “refuge” for several marine species.
She said, the larval development in most marine fish was quite vulnerable to environmental changes and to the effects of human action.
Ramos, also told Lusa News Agency that the CIIMAR team aims to start a new study to analyse the sources of contamination and to analyse fish larvae to understand if animals eat the plastic particles.