Microplastic in Commercial Fish in the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Arabian/Persian Gulf. Part 3. The Arabian/Persian Gulf


The manuscript reviews the available literature of 2015-2022 on the microplastic content in commercially important fish species, molluscs and crustaceans in the Arabian/Persian Gulf. The literature on microplastic concentrations on beaches, in subtidal sediment, and in surface water of different regions of the Arabian/Persian Gulf is evaluated, also. Overall, the reported concentration of microplastic in marine organisms in the Gulf has been found to be less than for comparable waters such as the Mediterranean Sea. The highest microplastic concentration within the region of the Gulf has been found on its Northern shore, in Iran, where also most of the microplastic studies within the region stem from.

Share and Cite:

Habib, R. and Thiemann, T. (2022) Microplastic in Commercial Fish in the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Arabian/Persian Gulf. Part 3. The Arabian/Persian Gulf. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 14, 474-500. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2022.146025.

1. Introduction

Microplastic (MP), small plastic particles of less than 5 mm in size [1], is seen as an emerging pollutant that has infiltrated the marine ecosystem, where MP not only can be found throughout the water column [2], in surface water [2] [3], making up a part of the 5 trillion plastic pieces floating on the oceans’ surface [4], in marine sediments [5] [6] and on beaches [7] [8], but also at every trophic level [9] [10]. In 2015, it was estimated that 93.000 - 236.000 metric tons of MP can be found in the world’s oceans [11]. An estimate from 2018 increased the amount to 270.000 tons [12]. The sources of MP in the marine environment are diverse. Some of them are land-based—thus it is assumed that up to 5% of the plastic waste generated on land ultimately makes its way into the oceans. Others stem from human activities on the water, where 10% of large plastic input derives from the fishing industry in form of nets and other fishing gear [13]. Shipping contributes to plastic and therefore MP waste, also, where gray water from the ships [14] as well as protective ship coatings [15] can carry large amounts of MP into the marine environment. Transport of MP from land to water happens both through water as well as through airborne transport [16]. In the first case, untreated run-offs [17] [18] and to a lesser degree effluents from wastewater treatment plants contain MP [19].

Marine organisms take up MPs. This includes marine phyla of commercial value such as marine vertebrates (such as cetaceans and fish), molluscs (gastropods, cephalopods and bivalves), and arthropods (crustaceans). Seafood in markets has been shown to be contaminated with MP [20] [21] [22]. As usually MP contamination is restricted to the intestinal tract of the organism, bivalves and fish eaten whole are more likely to expose humans to MPs [23]. The fact is that MPs have been found in human feces [24] [25], blood [26] and also in human placenta [27] [28] and meconium [28]. While many polymers that make up MPs are chemically inert, MPs can impart physical damage to tissues [29] and specifically to cells [30]. In addition, MPs contain additives such as plasticizers, flame retardants, stabilizers and dyes, which may have a detrimental effect on living organisms [31] [32], including humans [33]. Thus, phthalates used as plasticizers have been listed as potential endocrine disruptors [34] and as potentially carcinogenic materials [35]. Furthermore, MPs can adsorb small organic compounds [36] such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) [37] and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) [38], heavy metals [39] as well as microorganisms [40]. Then, MPs can serve as vehicles for such toxic assemblages [41] [42] [43] [44].

Apart from the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco and Mauritania and the Arabian Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian/Persian Gulf and the Red Sea are the most important larger water bodies for the MENA region. The Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian/Persian Gulf and the Red Sea are semi-enclosed and are situated in a relatively arid region. The Arabian/Persian Gulf is bounded by the Shatt al-Arab river delta in the northwest and by the Strait of Hormuz in the southeast and is bordered by the countries of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Oman. Large cities such as Dubai (UAE, 2.9 million inhabitants), Abu Dhabi (UAE, 1.51 million inhabitants), Doha (Qatar, 2.38 million inhabitants), Manama (Bahrain, 436.000 inhabitants), Dammam (Saudi Arabia, 1.25 million inhabitants, Metro area Dammam-Khobar: 4.14 million inhabitants), Kuwait City (Kuwait, 3 million inhabitants) and Bandar Abbas (Iran, 527.000 inhabitants) circle the Gulf. In 2020, daily, 18 million barrels of oil passed through the Strait of Hormuz. 7.3% of global plastic materials production is situated in the Middle East [45]. At the same time, the countries surrounding the Gulf produce in excess of 5.81 million tons of plastic waste per year (Al Salem et al., 2020), with Saudi Arabia (1.92 million t/a), the United Arab Emirates (1.29 million t/a) and Iran (1.96 million t/a) producing the largest share. At the consumer level in the UAE, this translates into an average annual use of 450 plastic bottles and of 1100 plastic bags per person [46], only 10% of which are currently recycled. In Abu Dhabi, it also translates into an average daily municipal solid waste generation of 1.56 kg per person [47].

The Arabian/Persian Gulf provides important fishing grounds. Fish catches in the Arabian Gulf have averaged 331,827 tons annually (2004-2012), with a minimum of 208,520 tons in 2004, and a maximum of 421,606 tons in 2012 [48]. According to Al-Abdulrazzak et al. [49], over the time period 1950-2010, the dominant invertebrate groups in the catches are shrimps and prawns (7%), and crabs and lobsters (6%), with the major fish groups consisting of herring-like fishes Clupeiformes (10%), sharks and rays (8%), ponyfishes (6%), and catfishes (6%), with another > 10% of annual landings being composed of species belonging to the families Carangidae, Lethrinidae, and Serranidae [50] [51]. In recent years, however, all countries on the Arabian/Persian Gulf have developed fish farming as a major food industry, as the natural fish stocks in the Gulf had been over-exploited for years. In this way, Qatar was able to produce 15,087 tons of fish in 2020, leading to the 66.7% self-sufficiency in fresh fish.

While traditionally there has always been a worry in regard to contamination in fish, be it because of heavy metal contamination [52] [53] or because of persistent organic pollutants [54], the presence of MP in fish has added a new concern. The current contribution, the last of three reviews of MP presence in the water bodies of the MENA region [55] [56] assesses the occurrence of MP in commercially valuable fish and other marine species in the Arabian/Persian Gulf in view of published literature from 2015-2022. Earlier sporadic reports on plastic micropellets, eg., spilled primary microplastics, beaches in Kuwait [57] and in the United Arab Emirates [58] [59] have not been included.

2. Data Collection

For this review, the authors have used the databases Scopus®, Scifinder® and Web of Science®. Typical keyword combinations used were “Arabian Gulf AND microplastic”, “Persian Gulf AND microplastic”, “Arabian Gulf AND microplastic AND fish”, “Persian Gulf AND microplastic AND fish”, “country AND microplastic, with country = Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and Oman” to give as an example 11 entries (Arabian Gulf AND microplastic), 25 entries (for Persian Gulf AND microplastic), 2 entries (for Arabian Gulf AND microplastic AND fish), 10 entries (Persian Gulf AND microplastic AND fish), 82 entries (for Iran), 1 entry (Iraq), 13 entries (Kuwait), 1 entry (Bahrain), 37 entries (Saudi Arabia), 9 entries (Qatar), 3 entries (United Arab Emirates), 2 entries (Dubai), 7 entries (Oman) respectively, in Web of Science® and 10 entries (Arabian Gulf AND microplastic), 29 entries (for Persian Gulf AND microplastic), 4 entries (for Arabian Gulf AND microplastic AND fish), 10 entries (Persian Gulf AND microplastic AND fish), 45 entries (for Iran), 3 entries (Iraq), 5 entries (Kuwait), 1 entry (Bahrain), 12 entries (Saudi Arabia), 6 entries (Qatar), 1 entry (United Arab Emirates), 1 entry (Dubai), 5 entries (Oman) in SciFinder®. Publications by governmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations (IGO’s) and or nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s), which are often not abstracted by the above databases, were searched for on the world-wide-web, utilizing the search words above. Abstracts of all entries were screened. When the abstract indicated that a quantitative analysis of microplastic in the region of the Arabian/Persian Gulf was presented, the paper was obtained through the UAEU university library system. All pertinent references in the given papers were screened for any missed publications. The “forward” citations given in the databases for the entries found in the databases were also screened for any missed publications. Papers were included in this review with detail quantitative analyses of microplastic in fish, water, beaches/coasts and sediments within the region of the Arabian/Persian Gulf. No review was discarded on the basis of the actual data presented. Where data seemed to be in conflict with other published data, the conflict was stated in the review without evaluation of the actual data. To decide upon the commercial values of different marine organisms, capture production statistics from FAO Fisheries & Aquaculture were used. There have been five reviews that touch upon certain aspects of the current contribution [60] [61] [62] [63] [64].

It must be noted that the majority of the work on MP in the Arabian/Persian Gulf comes from Iran and encompasses sampling of the Northern shore of the Gulf. In frequency of publications, this is followed by work from Kuwait with sampling of Kuwaiti waters in addition to collaborative research with Iran. Less work can be found that is focused on Qatari sites and sites in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. No published work has yet appeared on Bahraini waters and beaches. Work from Oman has focused on sites along the Gulf of Oman and was exempted from this review.

3. Abundance of Microplastic in the Arabian/Persian Gulf

The last decades saw significant changes along the coasts of the Arabian/Persian Gulf, affected by an ever-increasing population, a changing economy and newly-found wealth on the back of hydrocarbon extraction. Between 1960 and 2021, the population of United Arab Emirates grew from 92.500 to 9.89 million people, that of Qatar from 47.400 to 2.88 million people, and that of Kuwait from 269.000 to 4.27 million people. This has led to significant coastal developments [65] [66] that include the construction of artificial islands and an increased urbanization of coastal stretches. This has resulted in the introduction of MP from land into the Gulf, through direct airborne transport [67], due to direct anthropogenic activity near or on the Gulf, through the discharge of wastewater treatment plants [68] and through run-offs [69]. Studies from the Iranian coast have shown that as much as 1.2 × 108 MP per day could be released into the Persian Gulf from Bandar Abbas city alone [68]. So, it is not surprising that among the beach locations studied by Naji et al. in 2017, the location with the largest concentration of MP was near an industrial wastewater output. Nevertheless, many of the MPs found in the marine environment are secondary MPs stemming from macroplastics through photodegradation in the environment and through degradation by the combined effects of wave action and abrasion from sediment particles [70] [71]. This is especially true in the Arabian/Persian Gulf, with its high salinity and high temperatures. Furthermore, Naji et al. [72] [73] attributed many MPs found on beaches or in intertidal zones to tourism and recreational activities, something which Sarafraz et al. [74] had voiced earlier. Thus, the authors found significant amounts of plastic debris at the touristic beaches Khor-e-Yekshabeh and Bostanu, Hormozgan Province, but not within the marine protected area at Khor-e-Azin. This was also reflected in the number of MP found at different sites: 2 ± 1 MP/kg (dry sediment) at Khor-e-Azin versus 1258 ± 291 MP/kg at Bostanu, the most industrial site of the beach sites sampled by the authors along the Strait of Hormuz [72] [73]. Akhbarizadeh et al. studied the MP concentration at 11 different stations around Khark Island, a hub for Iranian oil storage and shipment located in the Northwestern part of the Gulf. Again, while MPs were found in all collected sediment samples, significant higher MP concentrations of up to 217 ± 20 items/200g dry sediment were found near human settlements and anthropogenic activity, including near petrochemical operations, as compared to more secluded locations with a MP count of 59 ± 20 items/200g dry sediment. On the beaches of Karkh Island, the majority of the identified MPs were fragments (61.7%) and fibers (37.2%) of <100 μm in size [75]. Also, Dobaradaran et al. [76] observed appreciable MP concentration on 9 urban beaches around Bushehr City with more than 2.2 × 104 MP/m2 within the top 10 cm of the beach layer at Jofre, Bushehr. Abayomi et al. sampled the intertidal zones of 8 Qatari beaches, evenly distributed along the Qatari coastline. The observed MP counts were between 36 and 228 MP·m−2 or between 6 and 38 MP·kg−1 of dry sediment. MP consisted of fibers (43/8%), films (40.7%) and fragments (14/2%) [70]. Frequent beach cleaning may offset heavy usage of the beaches, however, no direct relationship was found between the concentration of macroplastic and microplastic particles on the Qatari beaches. Abayomi reasoned that it is likely that MP found in the intertidal zones originate as much from the sea as from a local fragmentation of beach litter [70]. In this respect, S.Veerasingam et al. [77] noted that the density of macrolitter (ML) on the west coast of Qatar is with 1.98 items/m2 higher than the global average, with PET bottles, and fishing gear debris in high abundance. Most plastic macroparticles discovered on beaches in the northwest part of Qatar were highly weathered and associated with barnacles and growth of cyanobacteria, fungi and algae, with especially plastic macrolitter (ML) on islands off the Northwest coast being covered with assemblages of encrusting organisms, indicating long residence time at sea. The authors also investigated the country of origin of ML deposited on the western beaches of Qatar and found that 45.3% of the items seemed to be land originated, 8.75% sea-originated, while 20.4% of the ML items originated from neighboring countries and the origin of 25.4% of ML items could not be identified. Veerasingam et al. [78] looked at the vertical penetration of MP particles in beach sediments and have found that on average over 9 locations, the MP concentration decreased from 320.7 ± 234 particles/kg in the top 5 cm sediment to 49.1 ± 17 particles/kg at 5 - 10 cm depth, 12.7 ± 9 particles/kg at 10 - 15 cm depth and 1 ± 3 particles/kg at 15 - 20 cm depth, with no MP found at depths of more than 20 cm. Kuwaiti beach sediments were surprisingly devoid of MP contamination. T. Saeed reported only 37 MP altogether from 44 intertidal locations along and to the south of Kuwait Bay [79]. Beaches in the area stretching from Ras Al-Ard to Shuwaikh port were reported completely free of MP. A few MPs were found in the samples from the beaches extending west from Shuwaikh to Jahra. The authors explained the very low concentration of MPs on Kuwaiti beaches with the fact that all of them are serviced in further south, in the United Arab Emirates. H. Aslam et al. [80] found an average of 59.7 MP/kg of dry sediment equaling 165 MP/m2 when sampling 16 Dubai beaches, with a range of 337 ± 180 MP/m2 (133.98 ± 67.48 MP/kg sediment) to 26 ± 5 MP/m2 (8.43 ± 1.54 MP/kg sediment). Some of the beaches are at least semi-serviced.

Thus, MP quantification in sediments along the coastline of the Arabian/Persian Gulf has been carried out in a number of locations (Figure 1). Starting with the Northwestern coastline and then turning clockwise, the following are some of the values that have been published, given either as number of MP per kg of dry sediment or number of MP per m2 surface with a defined thickness of layer analyzed: Iran (Hormozgan Province): Khor-e-Yekshabeh (125 ± 25 particles/kg dry sediment), Gorsozan (103 ± 12.6 particles/kg), Khor-e-Azini (42.7 ± 5.5 particles/kg), Bostanu (36.0 ± 7.2 particles/kg), Suru (n.d) [72] [73], Khor-e-Yekshabeh, Bandar Abbas (3.36 × 104 particles/m2), Gorsozan, Bandar Abbas (3.54 × 103 particles/m2), Suru, Bandar Abbas (1.65 × 104 particles/m2) [81], Lashtaghan (26.5 ± 6.36), Gelkan 19.5 ± 6.36) [82], Iran (Bushehr Province): Nayband National Marine Park), Nakhilo Island, and Bardestan: Bidkhoun (2 locations: 416 particles/m2 [urban]; 280 partcles/m2 [industrial]; Hale-Basatin (56 particles/m2), Bardestan (44 particles/m2), Bordekhan (14 particles/m2) [83] ; Qatar: Ras Rakan Island (9 locations: 320.7 ± 234 particles/kg) [78] ; Umm Bab (52.1 particles/m2); Dukhan (84.1 particles/m2); Al Ruwais (47.9 particles/m2); Ras Laffan (84.5 particles/m2); Al Dakhira (76.1 particles/m2); Pearl Beach (123.9 particles/m2); Doha Beach (123.9 particles/m2); Mesaieed (56.2 particles/m2) [70] ; United Arab Emirates (Dubai): Al Mamzar Beach Park, Dubai (3 locations: 245 ± 106; 152 ± 63; 84 ± 21 particles/m2), LaMer Beach, Dubai (2 locations: 226 ± 73; 337 ± 180 particles/m2); Mercato Beach, Dubai (121 ± 8 particles/m2), Jumeriah Open Beach, Dubai (170 ± 57 particles/m2); Sufouh Beach, Dubai (176 ± 61 particles/m2); Marina Beach, Dubai (119 ± 26 particles/m2) [80].

Measurements of the MP concentration in the water at different locations within the Arabian/Persian Gulf have been published, also (Figure 1). Again, much of the data comes from Iran. In 2020, Kor and Mehdinia collected neustonic samples from 15 stations along the Iranian coast, from the Strait of Hormuz to off the coast of Abadan, Khuzestan Province, with the sampling points being at varying distances of 7 - 90 km from the shoreline [84]. The average MP concentration was found to be 1.8 (±1.1)  ×  104 particles/km2 where the sampling point closest to the shore (9 km off Dehr, Bushehr Province) showed the highest MP concentration with a density of 4.6 × 104 particles/km2. Interestingly, the lowest MP concentration was measured just beyond the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf of Oman with 1.5 × 103 particles/km2. With two notable exceptions, namely at locations off the Parsian county coastline and in the Strait of Hormuz, where mostly plastic fragments were observed, the majority of particles found were fibers [84]. MP concentrations in Kuwaiti water, both in and to the south of Kuwait Bay, in the area stretching from Ras Al-Ard to Shuwaikh port, and in the South of Kuwait Bay, have been found to be extremely low, as reported by Saeed et al. in 2020. In 40 neuston net trawls of 1 km length each, only 12 MP were found altogether [79]. In 2014-2015, Abayomi et al. [70] found MP concentrations of between 4.38 × 104 and 1.46 × 106 particles·km−2 in the surface water off the eastern coast of Qatar, with the highest concentration observed at 10 km off the coast. With 93.8%, fibers were the dominant type of MP. 67.4% of the found MP were 1 - 5 mm in size [70]. Castillo et al. [85] sampled surface water at 12 marine stations in the Northeast of Qatar in the Qatari EEZ at up to 95 km from the coastline with a maximum MP concentration of 3 particles/m3 seawater. It must be noted that two sites, namely one in the Doha channel about 16 km off the coast and the site furthest out returned samples with no MP content.

Figure 1. MP sampling sites—on land, beaches, intertidal zones and surface waters.

Many of the sampling stations, including those near Halul Island were in the vicinity of Qatari offshore oil fields.

4. Microplastic Abundance in Fish, Crustuceans, and Molluscs in the Arabian/Persian Gulf

4.1. Status of Commercial Fish Stocks in the Arabian/Persian Gulf

A wealth of data is available on the recent development of fishery stocks in Kuwaiti waters [86]. Eight important species of fish have decreased in stock over recent years—these are Pampus argenteus (silver pomfret, Zobaidi), Tenualosa ilisha (Hilsa shad, Suboor), Pomadasys kaakan (javelin grunter, Nagroor), Epinephelus coioides (orange-spotted grouper, Hamoor), Lutjanus malabaricus (Malabar blood snapper, Hamra), Parastromateus niger (black pomfret, Halwayuh), Plectorhinchus pictus (trout sweetlips, Frush), and Saurida tumbil (greater lizard fish, Kasur). Part of this is due to overfishing, part of it is due to environmental pollution [87]. Overall, the fisheries production in Kuwait has declined by about 25% since the late 1980s [88]. Furthermore, the shrimping industry in Kuwaiti waters is very important, with the two main shrimp species Penaeus semisulcatus (green tiger prawn) and Metapenaeus affinis (jinga shrimp). Shrimping industry is important for Iran and Saudi Arabia fisheries [49], too, where in Iran also Penaeus merguiensis (banana prawn), Metapenaeus stebbingi (peregrine shrimp), Parapenaeopsis stylifera (Kiddi shrimp) and Metapenaeopsis stridulans (Fiddler shrimp) are caught [89]. Nine species of fish were highlighted by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment (MOCCAE) to be of commercial value: Lethrinus nebulosus (spangled emperor, Shaari), E. coioides (orange-spotted grouper, Hamour), Siganus canaliculatus (white-spotted spinefish, Safi arabi), Acanthopargus bifasciatus (twobar seabream, Faskr), Rhabdosargus sarba (goldlined seabream, Qabit), Gerres longirostris (strongspine sliver biddy, Badah), Scombroides commersonianus (Talang queenfish, Dala), Cephalopholis miniata (coral grouper, Arousa), and Thunnus tonggol (longtail tuna, Gebab) [90]. Groupers (Epinephelus spp.), emperors (Lethrinus spp.) and mackerels (Scomberomorus spp.) were historically the commercially most important for Qatari fisheries, with the emperor fish making up 50% of the revenue for the Qatar National Fishing Company (QNFC) in previous times [91]. Sardine, mackerel, tuna, barracuda, grouper, trevally, emperor, and pomfret along with shrimps still make up the majority of the seafood market in Qatar. In Bahrain, rabbit fish (Safee) (Siganus canaliculatus), Sobaity bream (silver seabream, Sobaity) (Sparidentex hasta), orange-spotted grouper (Hamoor) (E. coioides), gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata), mangrove snapper (Sheggar) (Lutjanus argentimaculatus), and cobia (Rachycentron canadum) are seen as commercially important local species, and these are all species cultured in Bahrain [92]. In general it can be said that In the wild, many of the commercial species in the Arabian Gulf suffer from overfishing. In all the above countries many of the fish are farmed, where the countries on the Arabian Peninsula coast of the Gulf are preparing to have some of the largest salt water aquaculture set-ups in the world. One needs, however, to note that microplastic has also been found in farmed fish throughout the world [93] [94].

4.2. MP Status in Molluscs and Crustaceans in the Arabian/Persian Gulf

Let us look at some of the work done on determining MP content in fish and molluscs caught in the Arabian/Persian Gulf (Figure 2, Figure 3, Table 1). At this time, results stem mainly from Iran, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, with again the majority of the data coming from Iran, published in the years 2018-2020. Naji et al. (2018) investigated the MP contamination in five different molluscs (Pinctada radiata, Thais mutabilis, Cerithidea cingulata, Amiantis umbonella and Amiantis purpuratus) [95]. Two of the three sampling sites for the molluscs were in Khor-e-Khoran, to the east of Bandar Abbas, which contains extensive mangrove forests and has the status of Hara (mangrove) protected area (HPA) with commercial use restricted to fishing, tourist boat trips, and limited mangrove cutting for animal feed [95]. The molluscs were collected in the intertidal zone during low tide. In individuals of all 5 species MPs were detected, where the average number of MPs found in the animals ranged from 0.2 to 21.0 particles per g of soft tissue (wet weight) and from 3.7 to 17.7 particles per individual. The results from Naji et al. may indicate a trophic transfer of MPs as the MP count in predatory species, especially in the carnivorous snail T. mutabilis was found to be higher than in either deposit/ suspension feeding snails (C. cingulate) or clams (A. umbonella and A. purpuratus) [95]. Biomagnification through trophic transfer is not always seen, however, and Ahmadi et al. observed that in certain scenarios marine species at lower trophic levels can even be at greater risk of MP contamination than species at higher trophic levels [ [96], see also ref. [102] ]. An average MP abundance of 1.02 items/g was found in the digestive tissues

Figure 2. Sampling sites—MP determination in crustaceans and molluscs.

Figure 3. Sampling sites—MP determination in fish of commercial value.

of the white shrimp (jinga shrimp, Metapenaeus affinis), sampled from 13 stations along Musa bay, a region of high anthropogenic pressure. The authors commented that on the basis of human consumption data of the white shrimp, an average person could consume 857 MPs per year, deriving from this food source alone [97]. Also, the bivalves hooded oyster (Saccostrea cucullata), Circenita callipyga, Barbatia helblingii, Solen brevis, A. umbonella, and the gastropod mollusc Telescopium telescopium from the coastal area of Hormogzan Province, Iran, were scrutinized for MPs [98].

Mangroves are thought to be MP sinks [99] [100]. In this respect, Maghsodian et al. determined the plastic content in sediments in mangrove forests of Nayband Gulf, Bushehr Province, Iran and found 2169 MP for every 349 mesoplastics and 139 macroplastics, as an average over 6 locations [83]. Naji et al. measured the MP concentration in the mangrove forests of the same general area to be 19.5 to 34.5 particles per kg dry sediment [101]. Maghsodian et al. studied MP presence in the Walton’s mudskipper (Periophthalmus waltoni), inhabiting these mangrove forests. Of 13 mudskippers, 8 contained MP fragments, with 1.1 MP per individual. Mudskippers from the more industrial area Bidkhoun (Nayband Gulf) showed the most MP contamination, while mudskippers from the mangrove forest of the unpopulated Bordekhon area (Nayband Gulf) were found to be free of MP [83]. Interestingly, here, all the MPs found in the bivalves were made of polypropylene.

4.3. MP Status in Fish of Commercial Value in the Arabian/Persian Gulf

Moving on to MP detection in fish of commercial interest (Figure 3, Table 1), recently, marine species caught in Kuwaiti waters were screened for MP contamination [79]. Here, the gastrointestinal MP contents of the commercially important species orange spotted grouper (E. coiodes), silver seabream (S. hasta), yellow fin seabream (Acanthopagrus latus), and grey (Klunzinger’s) mullet (Liza

Table 1. MP content of selected fish, crustaceans and molluscs of commercial value.

klunzingeri), the bivalves Meretrix meretrix and Amiantis umbonella and the Venus clam Circenita callipyga were investigated [79]. Strikingly, MP was only discovered in the orange-spotted grouper, albeit only 3 MP in altogether 10 grouper specimen. As noted above, this result reflects the reported paucity of MPs in Kuwaiti waters and in Kuwaiti beach sediments. This was strengthened by a study of Al Salem et al. [102] of nine fish species from Kuwaiti water, namely the orange spotted grouper (E. coioides), the sea catfish (Plicofollis layardi), the yellowfin seabream (Acanthopagrus latus), the fourfinger threadfin (Eleutheronemaa tetradactylum), silver pomfret (Pampus argenteus), Klunzinger's mullet (L. klunzingeri), the Javelin grunter (Pomadasys kaakan), and five lined snapper (Lutjanus quinquelineatus) (1 specimen each), where MP content was found only in A. latus, E. tetradactylum and L. quinquelineatus [102]. Agarokh et al. [103] sampled Otolithes ruber, Liza abu, Sphyraena forsteri, and Cynoglossus arel, where the fish were bought from local fishermen in the regions of Hendijan, Genave, Emam Hassan, Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, and Lengeh (all Iran). Bushehr, Qeshm, and Hendijan were found to be the most polluted region based on the numbers of MPs in the investigated species. Overall, 28.5% of the fish (n = 248) in this study had MP in their gastrointestinal tract. The tigertooth croaker (O. ruber, 0.43 ± 0.12 MP/individual), the Abu mullet (L. abu, 0.34 ± 0.09 MP/individual), the largescale tongue sole (C. arel, 0.33 ± 0.14 MP/individual), and the Bigeye barracuda (S. forsteri, 0.24 ± 0.08 MP/individual) were the fish species with the highest MP count [103]. Agharok et al. [103] found no correlation between MP abundance in surface water, sediment, and fish samples. R. Akhbarizadeh et al. looked at the MP concentration in 4 fish species purchased from fish-mongers on Khark Island. The bartail flathead (n = 16, Platycephalus indicus) had the largest MP abundance with an average of 18.50 ± 4.55 items/10 g fish muscle, and the pickhandle barracuda (n = 15, Sphyraena jello) had the lowest abundance of MPs with an average of 5.66 ± 1.69 items/10 g fish muscle. Moreover, the average abundance of MPs in muscles of the shrimp scad (n = 20, Alepes djedaba) and of the orange-spotted grouper (n = 20, E. coioides) were 8.00 ± 1.22 and 7.75 ± 2.16 items/10 g fish muscle, respectively [104]. This led the authors conclude that benthic fish are most exposed to MPs [104]. Also, R. Akhbarizadeh et al. looked at the MP concentration in muscles and gills of five popular commercial species (3 fish, 1 crab, and 1 prawn) from Iranian water of the Gulf as potential edible parts of the marine organisms to understand the risk of the human intake of MP through seafood from the region [105]. The green tiger prawn (P. semisulcatus) and the orange-spotted grouper (E. coioides) displayed the highest (mean 0.360 items/g muscle) and lowest (mean 0.158 items/g muscle) MP concentration, respectively [105]. The MP concentration was higher in the gills than in the muscle of the analyzed species. This was especially true for scavengers and filter feeders such as L. klunzingeri, P. armatus, and P. semisulcatus. The results of the trophic magnification factor (TMF) and biomagnification factor (BMF) calculations indicated that MPs were not biomagnified in the edible parts of the marine organisms of the Persian Gulf. It seems that, contrary to previous belief, MP trophic dilution occurs rather than magnification in the edible parts of seafood [105]. Abbasi et al. [106] investigated four fish species and one crustacean in the Musa Estuary, Iran for MP contamination. The bartail flathead (P. indicus) had an average MP concentration of 0.59 particles/g, the greater lizardfish (S. tumbil) 0.37 particles/g, the Northern whiting (Sillago sihama) 0.25 particles/g, the tongue sole (Cynoglossus abbreviatus) 0.16 particles/g and the green tiger prawn (P. semisulcatus) 1.51 particles/g. In 2021, Hosseinpour et al. [107] reported on MP contamination of 16 species of fish caught in the general area of the Strait of Hormuz. The 16 species are the Indian mackerel (n = 18, Rastreliger kanagurta), the sawtooth barracuda (n = 3, Sphyraena putnamiae), Klunzinger’s mullet (n = 10, L. klunzingeri), the Northern whitling (n = 14, S. sihama), John’s snapper (n = 10, Lutjanus johni), the Spanish mackerel (n = 7, Scomberomorus commerson), the Malabar blood snapper (n = 5, Lutjanus malabaricus), the tigertooth croaker (n = 10, O. ruber), spangled emperor (n = 5, L. nebulosus), and the Malabar trevally (n = 17, C. malabaricus), the king soldier bream (n = 4, Argyrops spinifer), Dory snapper (n = 2, Lutjanus fulviflammus), the bartail flathead (n = 2, P. indicus), and the longtail tuna (n = 3, Thunnus tonggol). The fish specimens from areas near Bandar Abbas, Minab and Bandar Lengeh were found to be contaminated with MPs [107]. The maximum mean abundance of MPs was observed in the gill (5.71 particles/individual) of T. tonggol and in the gut tissue (5.67 particles/individual) of S. putnamiae. A significant positive correlation between the total fish length and the abundance of MPs was observed. MPs were found to be more abundant in pelagic fish (5.79 ± 5.98 particles/individual) than in demersal fish species (3.89 ± 3.53 particles/individual) [107]. In a critical evaluation of nine common commercial important fish species (Liza parsia, Gerres acinaces, L. nebulosus, E. coioides, R. kanagurta, Eythynnus affinis, S. commerson, Carangoides malabaricus, Siganus canaliculatus) off the Saudi Arabian coast, Baalkhuyur et al. [108] found that only 1 in every 20 fish (5.71%) examined had ingested microplastic apart from microfibers. Spangled emperor (L. nebulosus, n = 15), the longtail silver-biddy (G. acinaces, n = 20), the goldspot mullet (L. parsia, n = 6), the mackerel tuna (E. affinis, n = 20), and the Malabar trevally (C. malabaricus, n = 9) were found to be completely free of MP that were not microfibers. However, microfiber ingestion was relatively common, with 95% of the investigated mackerel tuna (E. affinis) exhibiting MP contamination at levels of 3.55 ± 0.85 fibers per fish. Also, 75% the examined Indian mackerel (R. kanagurta) and 60% of the Spanish mackerel (S. commerson) showed fiber contamination [108]. Although in much of the work from other authors, microfibers are included within the MP count, this is a lower ingestion rate than observed for fish in other seas in the MENA region such as in the Red Sea [56] or in the Mediterranean Sea [55]. There has been some discussion that MP contamination in the muscles of fish could be caused in part by procedural contamination [107]. Although there are studies on mechanisms of the entry of MPs into muscle tissue of fish and other organisms [109] [110], this point may need to be revisited.

In their review, Lyons et al. [60] have commented that there is yet limited data in regard to MP concentrations in the area of the Arabian/Persian Gulf. Thus, data is yet missing of fish caught and/or sold in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman (on the side of Arabian/Persian Gulf) and Bahrain. The low MP concentrations measured in Kuwaiti intertidal zones and in Kuwaiti waters are surprising. Also, measurements coming out of Saudi Arabia give MP concentrations in fish that are much below MP concentrations found in fish from the Mediterranean Sea or near parts of the Atlantic coastline. Higher MP concentrations have been measured on the Northern coast of the Arabian/Persian Gulf, where also the larger share of the data stems from. As the region of the Arabian/Persian Gulf is undergoing rapid change, it would be helpful to collect more data in regard to MP presence in soil/sediments, water and marine organisms of the region to have a baseline against which any changes, including legislative changes in respect to single use plastic utilization, can be evaluated at a later time. This could well be supported by modeling of the transport and distribution of MPs in the Arabian/Persian Gulf [111].

5. Conclusion

While there is yet a paucity of data on MP concentrations in the area of the Arabian/Persian Gulf, recent studies have started to fill this gap. Relatively low concentrations of MP have been found in commercial fish along the Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian coastline. Little data on MP ingestion of fish along the coasts of Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates is available. Higher MP concentrations are found in marine organisms along the Iranian coastline. All in all, currently, the published MP concentrations in commercial fish from the Arabian/Persian Gulf are lower than those from the Mediterranean Sea. As the countries surrounding the Gulf are experiencing population growth and the coastline of the Gulf is changing under anthropogenic pressure, monitoring of MP concentration in the Gulf will need to continue.


Ms. Raheel al Kayoomi and Mr. Ahmed Taha of the library services, UAEU, are acknowledged for their continued support in acquiring the necessary literature resources.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


[1] Doyle, M. (2009) Small Plastic Debris and Planktoni: Perspectives from NOAA Planktoni Sampling Programs on Northeast Pacfic Ecosystems. Proceedings of the International Research Workshop on the Occurrence, Effects and Fate of Microplastic Marine Debris, University of Washington Tacoma, Tacoma, 9-11 September 2008, 24, NOAA Technical Memorandum.
[2] Cincinelli, A., Martinelli, T., Guerranti, C., Scopetani, C., Chelazzi, D. and Giarrizzo, T. (2019) A Potpourri of Microplastics in the Sea Surface and Water Column of the Mediterranean Sea. TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 110, 321-326.
[3] Karlsson, T.M., Karrman, A., Rotander, A. and Hassellov, M. (2020) Comparison between Manta Trawl and in Situ Pump Filtration Methods and Guidance for Visual Identification of Microplastics in Surface Waters. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 27, 5559-5571.
[4] Eriksen, M., Lebreton, L.C.M., Carson, H.S., Thiel, M., Moore, C.J., Borerro, J.C., Galgani, F., Ryan, P.G. and Reisser, J. (2014) Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea. PLOS ONE, 9, e111913.
[5] Harris, P.T. (2020) The Fate of Microplastic in Marine Sedimentary Environments: A Review and Synthesis. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 158, Article ID: 111398.
[6] Phuong, N.N., Fauvelle, V., Grenz, C., Ourgaud, M., Schmidt, N., Strady, E. and Sempéré, R. (2021) Highlights from a Review of Microplastics in Marine Sediments. Science of the Total Environment, 777, Article ID: 146225.
[7] De-la-Torre, G.E., Dioses-Salinas, D.C., Castro, J.M., Antay, R., Fernández, N.Y., Espinoza-Morriberón, D. and Saldana-Serrano, M. (2020) Abundance and Distribution of Microplastics on Sandy Beaches of Lima, Peru. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 151, Article ID: 110877.
[8] Chai, B., Li, Y., Wang, L., Zhang, X.T., Wan, Y.P., Chen, F., Ma, J., Lan, W. and Pan, K. (2022) Microplastic Contamination on the Beaches of South China. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, Article ID: 863652.
[9] Costa, E., Piazza, V., Lavorano, S., Faimali, M., Garaventa, F. and Gambardella, C. (2020) Trophic Transfer of Microplastics from Copepods to Jellyfish in the Marine Environment. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 8, Article ID: 571732.
[10] Nelms, S.E., Galloway, T.S., Godley, B.J., Jarvis, D.S. and Lindeque, P.K. (2018) Investigating Microplastic Trophic Transfer in Marine Top Predators. Environmental Pollution, 238, 999-1007.
[11] Van Sebille, E., Wilcox, C., Lebreton, L., Maximenko, N., Hardesty, B.D., Van Franeker, J.A., Eriksen, M., Siegel, D., Galgani, F. and Law, K.L. (2015) A Global Inventory of Small Floating Plastic Debris. Environmental Research Letters, 10, Article ID: 124006.
[12] Davaasuren, N., Marino, A., Boardman, C., Alparone, M., Nunziata, F., Ackermann, N. and Hajnsek, I. (2018) Detecting Microplastics Pollution in World Oceans Using Sar Remote Sensing. 2018 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Valencia, 22-27 July 2018, 938-941.
[13] Gilman, E., Musyl, M., Suuronen, P., Chaloupka, M., Gorgin, S., Wilson, J. and Kuczenski, B. (2021) Highest Risk Abandoned, Lost and Discarded Fishing Gear. Scientific Reports, 11, Article No. 7195.
[14] Peng, G., Xu, B. and Li, D. (2022) Gray Water from Ships: A Significant Sea-Based Source of Microplastics? Environmental Science & Technology, 56, 4-7.
[15] Dibke, C., Fischer, M. and Scholz-Bottcher, B.M. (2021) Microplastic Mass Concentrations and Distribution in German Bight Waters by Pyrolysis-Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry/Thermochemolysis Reveal Potential Impact of Marine Coatings: Do Ships Leave Skid Marks? Environmental Science & Technology, 55, 2285-2295.
[16] Liu, K., Wu, T., Wang, X., Song, Z., Zong, C., Wei, N. and Li, D. (2019) Consistent Transport of Terrestrial Microplastics to the Ocean through Atmosphere. Environmental Science & Technology, 53, 10612-10619.
[17] Treilles, R., Gasperi, J., Gallard, A., Saad, M., Dris, R., Partibane, C., Breton, J. and Tassin, B. (2021) Microplastics and Microfibers in Urban Runoff from a Suburban Catchment of Greater Paris. Environmental Pollution, 287, Article ID: 117532.
[18] Pinon-Colin, T.J., Rodriguez-Jimenez, R., Rogel-Hernandez, E., Alvarez-Andrade, A. and Wakida, F.T. (2020) Microplastics in Stormwater Runoff in a Semiarid Region, Tijuana, Mexico. Science of the Total Environment, 704, Article ID: 135411.
[19] Habib, R.Z., Thiemann, T. and Al Kendi, R. (2020) Microplastics and Wastewater Treatment Plants—A Review. Journal of Water Research and Protection (JWARP), 12, 1-35.
[20] Cho, Y., Shim, W.J., Jang, M., Han, G.M. and Hong, S.H. (2019) Abundance and Characteristics of Microplastics in Market Bivalves from South Korea. Environmental Pollution, 245, 1107-1116.
[21] Curren, E., Law, C.P., Lim, P.T. and Leong, S.C.Y. (2020) Evidence of Marine Microplastics in Commercially Harvested Seafood. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 8, Article ID: 562760.
[22] Rochman, C.M., Tahir, A., Williams, S.L., Baxa, D.V., Lam, R., Miller, J.T., Teh, F.C., Werorilangi, S. and Teh, S.J. (2015) Anthropogenic Debris in Seafood: Plastic Debris and Fibers from Textiles in Fish and Bivalves Sold for Human Consumption. Scientific Reports, 5, Article No. 14340.
[23] Smith, M., Love, D.C., Rochman, C.M. and Neff, R.A. (2018) Microplastics in Seafood and the Implications for Human Health. Current Environmental Health Reports, 5, 375-386.
[24] Schwabl, P., Koppel, S., Konigshofer, P., Bucsics, T., Trauner, M., Reiberger, T. and Liebmann, B. (2019) Detection of Various Microplastics in Human Stool: A Prospective Case Series. Annals of Internal Medicine, 171, 453-457.
[25] Luqman, A., Nugrahapraja, H., Wahyuono, R.A., Islami, I., Haekal, M.H., Fardiansyah, Y., Putri, B.Q., Amalludin, F.I., Rofiqa, E.A., Gotz, F. and Wibowo, A.T. (2021) Microplastic Contamination in Human Stools, Foods and Drinking Water Associated with Indonesian Coastal Population. Environments, 8, Article 138.
[26] Leslie, H.A., van Velzen, M.J.M., Brandsma, S.H., Vethaak, D., Garcia-Vallejo, J.J. and Lamoree, M.H. (2022) Discovery and Quantification of Plastic Particle Pollution in Human Blood. Environment International, 163, Article ID: 107199.
[27] Ragusa, A., Svelato, A., Santacroce, C., Catalano, P., Notarstefano, V., Carnevali, O., Papa, F., Rongioletti, M.C.A., Baiocco, F., Draghi, S., D’Amore, E., Rinaldo, D., Matta, M. and Giorgini, E. (2020) Plasticenta: First Evidence of Microplastics in Human Placenta. Environment International, 146, Article ID: 106274.
[28] Braun, T., Ehrlich, L., Henrich, W., Koeppel, S., Lomako, I., Schwabl, P. and Liebmann, B. (2021) Detection of Microplastic in Human Placenta and Meconium in a Clinical Setting. Pharmaceutics, 13, Article 921.
[29] Deng, Y., Zhang, Y., Lemos, B. and Ren, H. (2017) Tissue Accumulation of Microplastics in Mice and Biomarker Responses Suggest Widespread Health Risks of Exposure. Scientific Reports, 7, Article No. 46687.
[30] Fleury, J.B. and Baulin, V.A. (2021) Microplastics Destabilize Lipid Membranes by Mechanical Stretching. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118, e2104610118.
[31] Fernández-Juárez, V., López-Alforja, X., Frank-Comas, A., Echeveste, P., Bennasar-Figueras, A., Ramis-Munar, G., Gomila, R.M. and Agawin, N.S.R. (2021) “The Good, the Bad and the Double-Sword” Effects of Microplastics and Their Organic Additives in Marine Bacteria. Frontiers in Microbiology, 11, Article ID: 581118.
[32] Schrank, I., Trotter, B., Dummert, J., Scholz-Bottcher, B.M., Loder, M.G.J. and Laforsch, C. (2019) Effects of Microplastic Particles and Leaching Additive on the Life History and Morphology of Daphnia Magna. Environmental Pollution, 255, Article ID: 113233.
[33] Campanale, C., Massarelli, C., Savino, I., Locaputo, V. and Uricchio, V.F. (2020) A Detailed Review Study on Potential Effects of Microplastics and Additives of Concern on Human Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, Article 1212.
[34] Thiemann, T. (2021) Isolation of Phthalates and Terephthalates from Plant Material—Natural Products or Contaminants? Open Chemistry Journal, 8, 1-36.
[35] Hauser, R. and Calafat, A. (2005) Phthalates and Human Health. Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 62, 806-818.
[36] Engler, R.E. (2012) The Complex Interaction between Marine Debris and Toxic Chemicals in the Ocean. Environmental Science & Technology, 46, 12302-12315.
[37] Tan, X., Yu, X., Cai, L., Wang, J. and Peng, J. (2019) Microplastics and Associated PAHs in Surface Water from the Feilaixia Reservoir in the Beijiang River, China. Chemosphere, 221, 834-840.
[38] Llorca, M., ábalos, M., Vega-Herrera, A., Adrados, M.A., Abad, E. and Farré, M. (2020) Adsorption and Desorption Behaviour of Polychlorinated Biphenyls onto Microplastics’ Surfaces in Water/Sediment Systems. Toxics, 8, Article 59.
[39] Wang, J., Peng, J., Tan, Z., Gao, Y., Zhan, Z., Chen, Q. and Cai, L. (2017) Microplastics in the Surface Sediments from the Beijiang River Littoral Zone: Composition, Abundance, Surface Textures and Interaction with Heavy Metals. Chemosphere, 171, 248-258.
[40] Ma, Y., Wang, L., Wang, T., Chen, Q. and Ji, R. (2020) Microplastics as Vectors of Chemicals and Microorganisms in the Environment. In: Bolan, N.S., Kirkham, M.B., Halsband, C., Nugegoda, D. and Ok, Y.S., Eds., Particulate Plastics in Terrestrial and Aquatic Environments, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 209-230.
[41] Curren, E. and Leong, S.C.Y. (2019) Profiles of Bacterial Assemblages from Microplastics of Tropical Coastal Environments. Science of the Total Environment, 655, 313-320.
[42] Silva, M.M., Maldonaldo, G.C., Castro, R.O., Felizardo, J.S., Cardoso, R.P., Anjos, R.M. and Araújo, F.V. (2019) Dispersal of Potentially Pathogenic Bacteria by Plastic Debris in Guanabara Bay, RJ, Brazil. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 141, 561-568.
[43] Kirstein, I.V., Kirmizi, S., Wichels, A., Garin-Fernandez, A., Erler, R., Loder, M. and Gerdts, G. (2016) Dangerous Hitchhikers? Evidence for Potentially Pathogenic Vibrio spp. on Microplastic Particles. Marine Environmental Research, 120, 1-8.
[44] Cao, Y., Zhao, M., Ma, X., Song, Y., Zuo, S., Li, H. and Deng, W. (2021) A Critical Review on the Interactions of Microplastics with Heavy Metals: Mechanism and Their Combined Effect on Organisms and Humans. Science of the Total Environment, 788, Article ID: 147620.
[45] Plastic Europe (2014/2015) Plastics—The Facts 2014/2015: An Analysis of European Plastics Production, Demand and Waste Data.
[46] Pandey, P. (2020) Plastic Waste Management in UAE. EcoMENA.
[47] Environment Agency—Abu Dhabi (2021) Waste Management.
[48] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2017) Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics: RECOFI Capture Production 1986-2015. FishStatJ—Software for Fishery Statistical Time Series, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.
[49] Al-Abdulrazzak, D., Zeller, D., Belhabib, D., Tesfamichael, D. and Pauly, D. (2015) Total Marine Fisheries Catches in the Persian/Arabian Gulf from 1950 to 2010. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 2, 28-34.
[50] Grandcourt, E. (2012) Reef Fish and Fisheries in the Gulf. In: Riegl, B.M. and Purkis, S., Eds., Coral Reefs of the Gulf: Adaptation to Climatic Extremes, Springer, Dordrecht, 127-161.
[51] Vaughan, G.O., Al-Mansoori, N. and Burt, J.A. (2019) The Arabian Gulf. In: Sheppard, C., Ed., World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation, Vol. 2: The Indian Ocean to the Pacific, Academic Press, Cambridge, 1-23.
[52] Tamele, I.J. and Loureiro, P.V. (2020) Lead, Mercury and Cadmium in Fish and Shellfish from the Indian Ocean and Red Sea (African Countries): Public Health Challenges. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 8, Article 344.
[53] Lenzi, M., Frianchi, E., Leporatti-Persiano, M., D’Agostino, A., Gennaro, P. and Marsili, L. (2021) Assessment of the Causes of Hg Bioaccumulation in the Fish of a Mediterranean Lagoon Subject to Environmental Management Interventions. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 162, Article ID: 111907.
[54] Panseri, S., Chiesa, L., Ghisleni, G., Marano, G., Boracchi, P., Ranghieri, V., Malandra, R.M., Roccabainca, P. and Tecilla, M. (2019) Persistent Organic Pollutants in Fish: Biomonitoring and Cocktail Effect with Implications for Food Safety. Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A, 36, 601-611.
[55] Habib, R.Z. and Thiemann, T. (2021) Microplastic in Commercial Fish in the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf. Part 1 The Mediterranean Sea. Journal of Water Research and Protection (JWARP), 13, 563-587.
[56] Habib, R.Z. and Thiemann, T. (2022) Microplastic in the Marine Environment of the Red Sea—A Short Review. Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research, In Press.
[57] Shiber, J.C. (1989) Plastic Particle and Tar Pollution on Beaches of Kuwait. Environmental Pollution, 57, 341-351.
[58] Khordagui, H.K and Abu-Hilal, A.H. (1994) Industrial Plastic on the Southern Beaches of the Arabian Gulf and the Western Beaches of the Gulf of Oman. Environmental Pollution, 84, 325-327.
[59] Khordagui, H.K. and Abu-Hilal, A.H. (1994) Man-Made Litter on the Shores of the United Arab Emirates on the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Water, Air & Soil Pollution, 76, 343-352.
[60] Lyons, B.P., Cowie, W.J., Maes, T. and Le Quesne, W.J.F. (2020) Marine Plastic Litter in the ROPME Sea Area: Current Knowledge and Recommendations. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 187, Article ID: 109839.
[61] Al-Salem, S.M., Uddin, S. and Al-Yamani, F. (2020) An Assessment of Microplastics Threat to the Marine Environment: A Short Review in Context of the Arabian/Persian Gulf. Marine Environmental Research, 159, Article ID: 104961.
[62] Uddin, S., Fowler, S.W. and Saeed, T. (2020) Microplastic Particles in the Persian/Arabian Gulf—A Review on Sampling and Identification. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 154, Article ID: 111100.
[63] Razeghi, N., Hamidian, A.H., Wu, C., Zhang, Y. and Yang, M. (2021) Scientific Studies on Microplastics Pollution in Iran: An In-Depth Review of the Published Articles. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 162, Article ID: 111901.
[64] Stofen-O’Brien, A., Naji, A., Brooks, A.L., Jambeck, J.R. and Khan, F.R. (2022) Marine Plastic Debris in the Arabian/Persian Gulf: Challenges, Opportunities and Recommendations from a Transdisciplinary Perspective. Marine Policy, 136, Article ID: 104909.
[65] Luijendijk, A.P., Kras, E., Dagalaki, V., Morelissen, R., Hoteit, I. and Ranasinghe, R. (2022) Regime Shifts in Future Shoreline Dynamics of Saudi Arabia. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, Article ID: 798657.
[66] Sheppard, C., Al-Husiani, M., Al-Jamali, F., Al-Yamani, F., Baldwin, R., Bishop, J., Benzoni, F., Dutrieux, E., Dulvy, N.K., Durvasula, S.R.V., Jones, D.A., Loughland, R., Medio, D., Nithyanandan, M., Pilling, G.M., Polikarpov, I., Price, A.R.G., Purkis, S., Riegl, B., Saburova, M., Namin, K.S., Taylor, O., Wilson, S. and Zainal, K. (2010) The Gulf: A Young Sea in Decline. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 60, 13-38.
[67] Paleologos, E.K., Al Nahyan, M.T. and Farouk, S. (2018) Risks and Threats of Desalination in the Arabian Gulf. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Series, 191, Article ID: 012008.
[68] Naji, A., Azadkhah, S., Farahani, H., Uddin, S. and Khan, F.R. (2021) Microplastics in Wastewater Outlets of Bandar Abbas City (Iran): A Potential Point Source of Microplastics into the Persian Gulf. Chemosphere, 262, Article ID: 128039.
[69] Hajiouni, S., Mohammadi, A., Ramavandi, B., Arfaeinia, H., De-la-Torre, G.E., Tekle-Rottering, A. and Dobaradaran, S. (2022) Occurrence of Microplastics and Phthalate Esters in Urban Runoff: A Focus on the Persian Gulf Coastline. Science of the Total Environment, 806, Article ID: 150559.
[70] Abayomi, O.A., Range, P., Al-Ghouti, M.A., Obbard, J.P., Almeer, S.H. and Ben-Hamadou, R. (2017) Microplastics in Coastal Environments of the Arabian Gulf. Marine Pollution Research, 124, 181-188.
[71] Andrady, A.L. (2011) Microplastics in the Marine Environment. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62, 1596-1605.
[72] Naji, A., Esmaili, Z., Mason, S.A. and Vethaak, D.A. (2017) The Occurrence of Microplastic Contamination in Littoral Sediments of the Persian Gulf, Iran. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 24, 20459-20468.
[73] Naji, A., Esmaili, Z. and Khan, F.R. (2017) Plastic Debris and Microplastics along the Beaches of the Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 114, 1057-1062.
[74] Sarafraz, J., Rajabizadeh, M. and Kamrani, E. (2016) The Preliminary Assessment of Abundance and Composition of Marine Beach Debris in the Northern Persian Gulf, Bandar Abbas City, Iran. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 96, 131-135.
[75] Akhbarizadeh, R., Moore, F., Keshavarzi, B. and Moeinpour, A. (2017) Microplastics and Potentially Toxic Elements in Coastal Sediments of Iran’s Main Oil Terminal (Khark Island). Environmental Pollution, Part A, 220, 720-731.
[76] Dobaradaran, S., Schmidt, T.C., Nabipour, I., Khajeahmadi, N., Tajbakhsh, S. Saeedi, R., Javad Mohammadi, M., Keshtkar, M., Khorsand, M. and Faraji Ghasemi, F. (2018) Characterization of Plastic Debris and Association of Metals with Microplastics in Coastline Sediment along the Persian Gulf. Waste Management, 78, 649-658.
[77] Veerasingam, S., Al-Khayat, J.A., Aboobacker, V.M., Hamza, S. and Vethamony, P. (2020) Sources, Spatial Distribution and Characteristics of Marine Litter along the West Coast of Qatar. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 159, Article ID: 111478.
[78] Veerasingam, S., Vethamony, P., Aboobacker V.M., Giraldes A.E., Dib S. and Al-Khayat, J.A. (2021) Factors Influencing the Vertical Distribution of Microplastics in the Beach Sediments around the Ras Rakan Island, Qatar. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 28, 34259-34268.
[79] Saeed, T., Al-Jandal, N., Al-Mutairi, A. and Taqi, H. (2020) Microplastics in Kuwait Marine Environment: Results of First Survey. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 152, Article ID: 110880.
[80] Aslam, H., Ali, T., Mortula, M.M. and Attaelmanan, A.G. (2020) Evaluation of Microplastics in Beach Sediments along the Coast of Dubai, UAE. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 150, Article ID: 110739.
[81] Foshtomi, M.Y., Oryan, S., Taheri, M., Bastami, K.D. and Zahed, M.A. (2019) Composition and Abundance of Microplastics in Surface Sediments and Their Interaction with Sedimentary Heavy Metals, PAHs and TPH (Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons). Marine Pollution Bulletin, 149, Article ID: 110655.
[82] Nuri, M. and Naji, A. (2017) Evaluation of Human Origin Microplastic Contamination in Sediments of Western Coasts of Hormozgan Province. The 4th International Conference on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Sustainable Environment, Shiraz, 20 June 2018, 11.
[83] Maghsodian, Z., Sanati, A.M., Ramavandi, R., Ghasemi, A. and Sorial, G.A. (2021) Microplastics Accumulation in Sediments and Periophthalmus waltoni Fish, Mangrove Forests in Southern Iran. Chemosphere, 264, Article ID: 128543.
[84] Kor, K. and Mehdinia, A. (2020) Neustonic Microplastic Pollution in the Persian Gulf. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 150, Article ID: 110665.
[85] Castillo, A.B., Al-Maslamani, I. and Obbard, J.P. (2016) Prevalence of Microplastics in the Marine Waters of Qatar. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 111, 260-267.
[86] Mathews, C.P. (1994) Fisheries Management: The Kuwaiti Experience. Marine Fisheries Review, 56, 23-30.
[87] Alqattan, M.E.A. and Gray, T.S. (2021) Marine Pollution in Kuwait and Its Impacts on Fish-Stock Decline in Kuwaiti Waters: Reviewing the Kuwaiti Government’s Policies and Practices. Frontiers in Sustainability, 2, Article ID: 667822.
[88] Al-Zaidan, A.S.Y., Al-Mohanna, S.Y. and George, P. (2013) Status of Kuwait’s Fishery Resources: Assessment and Perspective. Marine Policy, 38, 1-7.
[89] Gerami, M.H. and Dastbaz, M. (2013) Commercial Fishing Methods in Iran. World Journal of Fish and Marine Sciences, 5, 63-70.
[90] Assessment of Local Commercial Fish in the Arabian Gulf.
[91] Al-Ansi, M. and Pride, I.G. (1996) Expansion of Fisheries in Qatar (1980-1992): Growth of an Artisanal Fleet and Closure of a Trawling Company. Fisheries Research, 26, 101-111.
[92] FAO (2022) Fisheries and Aquaculture.
[93] Zou, A., Zhang, Y., Xie, S., Chen, Y., Li, X., Wang, J. and Zou, J. (2021) Microplastics and Their Potential Effects on the Aquaculture Systems: A Critical Review. Aquaculture, 13, 719-733.
[94] Feng, Z., Zhang, T., Li, Y., He, X., Wang, R., Xu, J. and Gao, G. (2019) The Accumulation of Microplastics in Fish from an Important Fish Farm and Mariculture area, Haizhou Bay, China. Science of the Total Environment, 696, Article ID: 133948.
[95] Naji, A., Nuri, M. and Vethaak, A.D. (2018) Microplastics Contamination in Molluscs from the Northern Part of the Persian Gulf. Environmental Pollution, 235, 113-120.
[96] Ahmadi, A., Moore, F., Keshavarzi, B., Soltani, N. and Sorooshian, A. (2022) Potentially Toxic Elements and Microplastics in Muscle Tissues of Different Marine Species from the Persian Gulf: Levels, Associated Risks and Trophic Transfer. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 175, Article ID: 113283.
[97] Keshavarzifad, M., Vazirzadeh, A. and Sharifinia, M. (2021) Occurrence and Characterization of Microplastics in White Shrimp, Metapenaeus affinis, Living in a Habitat Highly Affected by Anthropogenic Pressures, Northwest Persian Gulf. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 169, Article ID: 112581.
[98] Jahromi, F.A., Keshavarzi, B., Moore, F., Abbasi, S., Busquets, R., Hooda, P.S. and Jaafarzadeh, N. (2021) Source and Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals and Microplastics in Bivalves and Coastal Sediments of the Northern Persian Gulf, Hormogzan Province. Environmental Research, 196, Article ID: 110963.
[99] Martin, C., Baalkhuyur, F., Valluzzi, L., Cusack, M., Saderne, V., Almahasheer, H., Krishnakumar, P.K., Rabaoui, L., Qurban, M.A., Ariaz-Ortiz, A., Masqué, P. and Duarte, C.M. (2020) Exponential Increase of Plastic Burial in Mangrove Sediments as a Major Plastic Sink. Science Advances, 6, eaaz5593.
[100] Zamprogno, G.C., Canicali, F.P., dos Reis Cozer, C., Otegui, M.B.P., Graceli, J.B. and da Costa, M.B. (2021) Spatial Distribution of Microplastics in the Superficial Sediment of a Mangrove in Southeast Brazil: A Comparison between Fringe and Basin. Science of the Total Environment, 784, Article ID: 146963.
[101] Naji, A., Nuri, M., Amiri, P. and Niyogi, S. (2019) Small Microplastic Particles (S-MPPs) in Sediments of Mangrove Ecosystem on the Northern Coast of the Persian Gulf. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 146, 305-311.
[102] Al-Salem, S.M., Uddin, S. and Lyons, B. (2020) Evidence of Microplastics (MP) in Gut Content of Major Consumed Marine Fish Species in the State of Kuwait (of the Arabian/Persian Gulf). Marine Pollution Bulletin, 154, Article ID: 111052.
[103] Agharokh, A., Taleshi M.S., Bibak, M., Rasta, M., Jafroudi H.T. and Armesto, B.R. (2022) Assessing the Relationship between the Abundance of Microplastics in Sediments, Surface Waters and Fish in the Iran Southern Shores. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 29, 18546-18558.
[104] Akhbarizadeh, R., Moore, F. and Keshavarzi, B. (2018) Investigating a Probable Relationship between Microplastics and Potentially Toxic Elements in Fish Muscles from Northeast of Persian Gulf. Environmental Pollution, 232, 154-163.
[105] Akhbarizadeh, R., Moore, F. and Keshavarzi, B. (2019) Investigating Microplastics Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification in Seafood from the Persian Gulf: A Threat to Human Health? Food Additives and Contaminants—Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment, 36, 1696-1708.
[106] Abbasi, S., Soltani, N., Keshavarzi, B., Moore, F., Turner, A. and Hassanaghaei, M. (2018) Microplastics in Different Tissues of Fish and Prawn from the Musa Estuary, Persian Gulf. Chemosphere, 205, 80-87.
[107] Hosseinpour, A., Chamani, A., Mirzaei, R. and Mohebbi-Nozar, S.L. (2021) Occurrence, Abundance and Characteristics of Microplastics in Some Commercial Fish of Northern Coasts of the Persian Gulf. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 171, Article ID: 112693.
[108] Baalkhuyur, F.M., Qurban, M.A., Panickan, P. and Duarte, C.M. (2020) Microplastics in Fishes of Commercial and Ecological Importance from the Western Arabian Gulf. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 152, Article ID: 110920.
[109] Kashiwada, S. (2006) Distribution of Nanoparticles in the See-Through Medaka (Oryzias latipes). Environmental Health Perspectives, 114, 1697-1702.
[110] Karami, A. Golieskardi, A., Ho, Y.B., Larat, V. and Salamatinia, B. (2017) MPs in Eviscerated Flesh and Excised Organs of Dried Fish. Scientific Reports, 7, 1-9.
[111] Alosairi, Y., Al-Salem, S.M. and Al Ragum, A. (2020) Three-Dimensional Numerical Modelling of Transport, Fate and Distribution of Microplastics in the Northwestern Arabian/Persian Gulf. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 161, Article ID: 111723.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.