Plastic debris and fibers from textiles in fish and bivalves sold for human consumption

25% of Fish Sold at Markets Contain Plastic or Man-Made Debris

fish-and-plastic image
Roughly a quarter of the fish sampled from fish markets in California and Indonesia contained man-made debris—plastic or fibrous material—in their guts. Marcus Eriksen, co-founder of 5 Gyres Institute, caught this fish from the bank of the Mississippi River, which had particles of plastic in its stomach.

2015 Study Abstract

The ubiquity of anthropogenic debris in hundreds of species of wildlife and the toxicity of chemicals associated with it has begun to raise concerns regarding the presence of anthropogenic debris in seafood. We assessed the presence of anthropogenic debris in fishes and shellfish on sale for human consumption. We sampled from markets in Makassar, Indonesia, and from California, USA. All fish and shellfish were identified to species where possible. Anthropogenic debris was extracted from the digestive tracts of fish and whole shellfish using a 10% KOH solution and quantified under a dissecting microscope. In Indonesia, anthropogenic debris was found in 28% of individual fish and in 55% of all species. Similarly, in the USA, anthropogenic debris was found in 25% of individual fish and in 67% of all species. Anthropogenic debris was also found in 33% of individual shellfish sampled. All of the anthropogenic debris recovered from fish in Indonesia was plastic, whereas anthropogenic debris recovered from fish in the USA was primarily fibers. Variations in debris types likely reflect different sources and waste management strategies between countries. We report some of the first findings of plastic debris in fishes directly sold for human consumption raising concerns regarding human health.

Sources and more information
  • Anthropogenic debris in seafood: Plastic debris and fibers from textiles in fish and bivalves sold for human consumption, Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 14340 (2015), doi:10.1038/srep14340, 24 September 2015.
  • 25% of Fish Sold at Markets Contain Plastic or Man-Made Debris, ecowatch, September 30, 2015.
  • America’s Deadly Love Affair With Bottled Water Has to End, ecowatch, September 24, 2015.
  • Are Microplastics in Your Salmon Filet?, ecowatch, August 17, 2015

Author: DES Daughter

Activist, blogger and social media addict committed to shedding light on a global health scandal and dedicated to raise DES awareness.

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