Bo Eide, Rekvik, Troms Fylke, NorwayMigratory birds are an important indicator of ecosystem health. In the Arctic, seabirds can indicate much about the health of the oceans, where the majority of marine life is out-of-sight. Objective 4 of the Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI) Circumpolar Flyway is focused on mitigating habitat degradation, including supporting work that will increase our understanding and ability to respond accordingly to the distribution and effects of plastic pollution on Arctic seabirds and seaducks.

The rise in concentrations of macro- and micro-plastics in the world's oceans extends also to the Artic, where increasing concentrations of these particles have been found in both water and sea ice. To date, accumulation of plastics and impacts on the food chain has been poorly studied in the region. In 2021 AMBI released a series of reports:

Outcomes of this work informed the Arctic Council's Litter and Microplastics Monitoring Plan and Regional Action Plan for Litter

AMBI plastics monitoring AMBi plastics review AMbi plastics state policies AMBI plastics tussia  

Project team

  • Mark Mallory (mark.malloryATacadiau.ca), Acadia University
  • Jannie Fries Linnebjerg (jaflATbios.au.dk)
  • Flemming Merkel (frmATbios.au.dk), Aarhus University
  • Maria Gavrilo, Birds Russia (mashuka13ATgmail.com)
  • Jennifer Provencher, Environment and Climate Change Canada (jennifer.provencherATcanada.ca)
  • Julia Baak (juliabaakATacadiau.ca)
  • Tom Barry, CAFF Secretariat (tomATcaff.is)
  • Courtney Price, CAFF Secretariat (courtneyATcaff.is)

The process do develop these reports included two workshops:

  • March 25, 2020: A plastics and seabirds workshop which discussed current knowledge, current programs, and any national level strategies being developed to monitor and assess the impact of plastic and marine litter on seabirds. 
  • Nov 12-14, 2020: A workshop which brought together plastic and seabird experts in Russia to share experiences, data and ideas about available plastics data in Russia.

Partners and support

In addition to CAFF member countries and organizations, this project received financial support from the Arctic Councils Project Support Instrument (PSI).

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