Marine and Coastal Litter

Marine and Coastal Litter and Polution

Litter on our shores and in our seas isn’t just unattractive, it is extremely harmful.

Global estimates suggest that a million seabirds and more than 100,000 marine mammals are killed each year from eating plastic. As more research is carried out into the effects of marine plastic we find that up to 100% of marine animals living in the deepest ocean trenches contain microplastics.

Around 58% of the fulmars that soar over our northern seas have plastics in their stomachs; which can lead to reduced feeding and starvation. Evidence published in 2017 from group of scientists, that included researchers from the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso, found that 74% of the 34 seabird species they studied had ingested plastic. It is estimated that all seabirds could be affected by 2050.

Marine litter can also have a strong economic impact. Marine Scotland calculates that it could cost the country at least £17 million per year. Fouling of fishing boat gear also causes significant costs, estimated at up to £12,000 a year per vessel in repairs and time lost at sea.

Cleaning the Firth

The Moray Firth Partnership is making tackling marine and coastal litter and pollution one of our top priorities. To help us we’re working with the Marine Conservation Society and the four other Coastal Partnerships,; Marine Scotland ; Keep Scotland Beautiful; The Highland Environment Forum marine litter group; Sky Watch; and KIMO’s Fishing for Litter campaign.

With nearly 80 % of litter originating on land we’re all responsible, so help us to clean up our act!

You can find out more about marine litter, and get involved in tackling the problem by emailing your interest in helping around the Moray Firth to or explore

Marine Conservation Scotland – Beachwatch
and other marine rubbish campaigns

Fidra – The Great Nurdle Hunt and the Cotton Bud Pledge

KIMO Fishing for Litter and Pick Up 3 Pieces

Surfers Against Sewage


Image credit: KIMO