Fisheries as a source of marine debris on beaches in the United Kingdom
Marine debris from ships has persisted and remains a concern despite international agreements such as MARPOL. We report on an analysis of beach litter based on a data set established by the Marine Conservation Society (MSC) Beachwatch weekends. Debris collected around the UK was divided into three main types of debris: (1) plastic, (2) fishing, and (3) fishing related plastic and rubber. Correspondence analysis (CA) was used to examine patterns in the occurrence of debris types on a total of 1023 beaches and debris attributable to fishing was identified on clusters of beaches mainly located on the coasts of Scotland and along the English Channel. General Linear model (GLM) identified fishing as the highest explanatory factor when testing for relationships between litter and proximity to fishing ports and grounds. The results add to the growing body of evidence that the fishing industry is largely responsible for marine debris.