EMODnet Chemistry contributed to the Commission Staff Working Document IMPACT ASSESSMENT (Reducing Marine Litter: action on single use plastics and fishing gear), SWD(2018) 254 final, with an analysis of plastics distribution coming from for 2 "metacategories", namely fishing gear and single use plastics. The study use the ICES DATRAS available data aggregated per MSFD regions and years.
Data are provided by different sampling devices (gear types) and are not directly comparable between them. For the same gear type, data are normalized in items/km2 in order to improve the comparison through years, reducing the effect of differences in sampling efforts along time, as suggested in recent publications (e.g., Schulz, Marcus, et al. "OSPAR standard method and software for statistical analysis of beach litter data." Marine pollution bulletin 122.1-2 (2017): 166-175).
Most importantly, the definition of "fishing gear" and "single use plastic" "metacategories" is approximate, since these "attributes" are not considered during the sampling.
Overall distribution of seafloor litter categories per MSFD regions (for the moment, North East Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea data have been analysed) was also provided.
The full document is available here.