Fadiyah M. Baalkhuyur, Mohammad A. Qurban, Premlal Panickan, Carlos M. Duarte,
Marine Pollution Bulletin 152, (2020)
Microplastic particles (MPs) in the gastrointestinal tracts of nine fish species of commercial importance from different habitats (coastal, pelagic, and reef-associated) in the Saudi EEZ of the Arabian Gulf were quantified and classified. A total of eight MPs were retrieved from a total of 140 individual fish examined, with an average of 0.057 ± 0.019 microplastic items per fish (excluding possible plastic fibers). On average, 5.71%, of the fish dissected contained MPs, ranging from 5 to 15% of individual fish examined containing MPs among species (Siganus canaliculatus and Rastrelliger kanagurta, respectively). Ingested plastic consisted primarily of fishing threads (1.04 ± 0.06 mm), followed by fragments (1.16 ± 0.11 mm). It is likely that the fibers, originated from the fisheries, recreational boating, laundry, domestic wastewater, and other human activities, which is also widespread and abundant (found in 58.58% of the fish studied). Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) were identified as the most abundant polymers ingested by the fishes. There was no significant difference (p < 0.05) between the presence of microplastic in fish depending on their habitat. The prevalence of MPs is relatively low compared to those in other regions, despite the massive industrialization of the Saudi Arabian Gulf.