What is INDICIT?

INDICIT (Implementation Of The Indicator Of Marine Litter On Sea Turtles And Biota In Regional Sea Conventions And Marine Strategy Framework Directive Areas), is a two year project funded by the European Union. This consortium, composed of researchers from 7 different countries, is committed to support the implementation of EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and other international environmental policies aiming at protecting the marine environment (especially the Barcelona convention, the OSPAR convention, the HELCOM  etc).

INDICIT focuses on the Descriptor 10 of the MSFD (“Marine Litter”), which aims to maintain or achieve the Good Environmental Status (GES) of the marine environment by 2020 with respect to marine litter. The overarching aim is to develop a set of standardized tools for monitoring the impacts of litter on marine fauna as bio-indicators: Indicator 1 “macro-litter ingested by sea turtle (debris items >5 mm)”, Indicator 2 “Marine wildlife entanglement in debris (all taxa)” and Indicator 3 “micro-litter ingested by fish/ sea turtle (debris items <1mm)”. A particular focus will be devoted on Indicator 1.

What is a (good) indicator ?

Since it is not possible to precisely count all debris items in the marine environment and to assess all their impacts on marine fauna, we use bio-indicators which provide information on the environmental state of the environment and therefore on the efficiency of some environmental measures.`

What is a (good) indicator ?

In the case of marine litter, a good bio-indicator should reflect the spatial and temporal variations in litter impacts according to pollution levels. Therefore, it provides a way to evaluate the efficacy of policy measures aimed at reducing litter input into the oceans. To be effective, a good indicator must be accurate, sensitive, reliable and easy to use for all the stakeholders in order to be applied to a large geographic area.

Sea turtles are consider a good bio-indicator species for measuring the impacts of debris on marine wildlife for at least three reasons:


turtles tend to ingest marine debris


they have a large spatial distribution


they use all ecological marine compartments
(from bottom to surface of oceans)


Furthermore, in most regions, a sufficient number of stranded or accidentally captured turtles are observe and can provide information’s in the framework of a monitoring programme.

The indicator “debris ingested by sea turtles” has been propose as a relevant indicator for monitoring ocean status. However, more scientific knowledge is need to evaluate its criteria of use, that will make it a precise and robust indicator. In addition, other indicators must be developed in order to measure other types of impacts of debris on sea life, such as entanglement or micro-debris ingestion (<5 mm).

INDICIT will contribute to recover the
good environmental status of our oceans :

  • through developing an international perennial network which will exchange key information;
  • through studying the impact of marine litter on marine organisms;
  • through testing existing, and proposing new indicators for monitoring the impacts of litter on marine fauna;
  • through providing training and standardized tools (guidelines, procedures, videos, etc.) to staff involved in the monitoring of debris impacts, such as staff of rehabilitation centres, stranding networks, veterinarians or research laboratories, etc.

Where is INDICIT working?

Indicit is working from basin to coastal areas in the Atlantic and Mediterranean marine sub-regions concerned by Regional Sea Conventions (RSC) and MSFD.

Who are the INDICIT partners?

The INDICIT consortium gathers 10 partners from the public sector, established in 5 European countries (France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal) and 2 non-European countries (Turkey and Tunisia). All states are contracting parties of OSPAR (Atlantic) and/or Barcelona (Mediterranean) conventions.

INDICIT partners aim to work in close collaboration with all stakeholders involved in monitoring the impacts of marine litter, such as institutions concerned by the study, the conservation or the rehabilitation of marine fauna. The External Advisory Board (EAB) is composed of representatives of national authorities, RSCs (OSPAR, Barcelona convention, HELCOM) and MSFD. The EAB provide his opinion on the relevance of the INDICIT partners’ results and propositions.

When does INDICIT take place?

February 2017 – February 2019

You may find the events in INDICIT agenda.