More Plastic Than Fish In The Sea By 2050.
In our plastic-oriented world, together with our disregard for its proper disposal, the pollution of our seas and oceans by this hardy material, inevitably leads to the contamination of our food chain in the fish and other marine life that we consume. A major public educational impetus needs to be instituted to not only save the future of our marine environment, but also to safeguard our future food stock from the oceans around us. For example, in a New Scientist article in 2015, fish caught off the coasts of California and Indonesia and sold in local markets have been found to have plastics and textile fibres in their guts, raising concerns over food safety, when Chelsea Rochman at the University of California Davis school of veterinary medicine and her team visited a fish market in Half Moon Bay and Princeton in California and in Makassar, Indonesia. In California, they sampled 76 fish from 12 species and one shellfish species, and in Indonesia, 76 fish from 11 species. All had been caught nearby. The animals were dissected and their guts treated chemically to dissolve body tissue and reveal any plastic and fibre debris they contained. The team found that 55 per cent of the fish species sampled in Indonesia contained human-derived debris. This included Indian mackerel, shortfin scad and silver-stripe round herring. In total, 28 per cent of the fish sampled contained the debris, with one having 21 pieces of plastic inside it. In the US, 67 per cent of the species – including the pacific oyster – contained the debris. The species included Pacific anchovy, striped bass and Chinook salmon. A quarter of the individual fish sampled were affected. Textile fibres made up the majority of human-made debris found in fish in the US, while plastic dominated that found in Indonesia’s fish. The authors say the fish may still be OK to eat as long as we avoid their guts – though they don’t exclude the possibility that some of the chemicals could have move from the plastic into the flesh.
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