ILVO is a multidisciplinary, independent research entity, contributing to innovation, general services and policy support related to agriculture, fisheries and food in Flanders. The Aquatic Environment and Quality department, located in Oostende, mainly focuses on the impact of human activities on the biological and chemical status of the marine environment, the quality of seafood, and the development and implementation of blue biotech in food and feed. Since 2011, macro– and micro-litter form a central research topic. ILVO has built a large expertise in microplastic and marine litter research throughout multiple projects and published in several A1 publications. ILVO cooperated to Flemish parliamentary resolution 866-(2015-2016)-nr.1 concerning the protection of the North Sea against marine litter contamination, participated to the ICES expert group ADGPLAST to define protocols for monitoring marine microplastics and is an active member of the ICES Working Group on Marine Litter. In addition to international projects, ILVO coordinates the Belgian projects Marine plastics, Plastics in food and “the screening of sea salt samples on the presence of microplastics’, does analyses for third parties, and developed methods for the determination of microplastics in different marine matrices as well as different food matrices. ILVO is responsible for the Belgian monitoring of seafloor litter within MSFD and is involved with the start-up of microplastic monitoring in Belgium.
ILVO is involved in WP1, the systematic literature review and meta-analysis of in-use protocols for microplastics determination. ILVO has built a large expertise in microplastics and marine litter, focused on microplastics in marine biota and macrolitter on the seafloor, expertise which will be used in leading task 1.3 focused on plastic analysis in the matrix biota. ILVO is also partner in WP3, in which ILVO will assist in the identification of appropriate monitoring strategies and the synchronization of procedures on a global level and the alignment with existing approaches and databases.