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 2 of the 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 WorldR17;s oceans extends also to the Artic, where increasing concentrations of these particles have been found in both water and sea ice. However, their accumulation and impacts on the food chain, and particularly on birds, have been poorly studied in the region, due to the emergent nature of this issue.

 Project goals:

  • Create a crosswalk document with an overview of the ongoing work at the national level that is informing research and policy frameworks related to plastic pollution and seabirds (e.g. what are countries developing for monitoring programs, which departments are mandated with plastic pollution).
  • Develop a pan-Arctic framework for monitoring plastic pollution in seabirds in the Arctic that is feasible and in line with standardized monitoring programs outside of the Arctic (e.g. the North Sea).

Upcoming meetings:

  • March 25: A plastics and seabirdsR17; workshop at the upcoming Circumpolar Seabird Expert Group (CBird) meeting in Iceland (March 26-28, 2019).  This workshop 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 (Meeting agenda). Workshop outcomes will be posted when ready.
  • A workshop that will bring together plastic and seabird experts in Russia to share experiences, data and ideas about currently available plastics data in Russia. Nov 12-14

Project team

  • Mark Mallory (, Acadia University
  • Jannie Fries Linnebjerg ( and Flemming Merkel (, Aarhus University
  • Maria Gavrilo, Birds Russia (
  • Jennifer Provencher, Environment and Climate Change Canada (
  • Tom Barry, CAFF Secretariat (

Partners and support

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

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