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Oceans' Increasing Mercury Levels May Be Harming Fish

Monday, February 2, 2015 8:08 am EST
"The take-home message is that mercury in tuna appears to be increasing in lock-step with data and model predictions for mercury concentrations in water in the North Pacific. This confirms that mercury levels in open ocean fish are responsive to mercury emissions"

Mercury contamination of ocean fish is a serious global health issue, and a new analysis of published reports reveals that the concentration of mercury in yellowfin tuna caught near Hawai’i is increasing at a rate ≥ 3.8 % per year.

Data suggest that mercury levels in the ocean are increasing due to human activity, and if atmospheric mercury emissions continue to increase, the concentration in the waters off the North Pacific could double by 2050.

“The take-home message is that mercury in tuna appears to be increasing in lock-step with data and model predictions for mercury concentrations in water in the North Pacific. This confirms that mercury levels in open ocean fish are responsive to mercury emissions,” said Dr. Paul Drevnick, lead author of the Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry analysis.

Drevnick, P. E., Lamborg, C. H. and Horgan, M. J. (2015), Increase in mercury in Pacific yellowfin tuna. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. doi: 10.1002/etc.2883

Contact:

For more information about this study please contact, sciencenewsroom@wiley.com.

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