Study Finds Increase of Mercury in Ocean Fish

by William White | August 26, 2013 12:18 pm

A study finds that ocean fish accumulate more mercury[1] at deeper depths.

The study, which was a collaboration between researchers at the Universities of Hawaii and Michigan, claims that mercury is carried through the atmosphere before it falls on the ocean and becomes part of the marine life’s food web. Organic mercury that is on the surface of the ocean is disintegrated by photochemical reactions. The study says that bacteria transforms the mercury at lower levels into methylmercury, a type of amino acid. This amino acid could then collect in fish, causing the increased mercury levels at deeper depths, reports The French Tribune.

Overall mercury levels in fish are also increasing[2]  due to pollution that is carried through the atmosphere and into the ocean. Fish affected by the rise in mercury levels include shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.

“If we’re going to effectively reduce the mercury concentrations in open-ocean fish, we’re going to have to reduce global emissions of mercury, including emissions from places like China and India,” Joel Blum, an environmental scientist at the University of Michigan, told Wunderground.com.

Endnotes:
  1. accumulate more mercury: http://www.frenchtribune.com/teneur/1319630-more-mercury-accumulates-ocean-fish-says-study
  2. increasing: http://www.wunderground.com/news/mercury-levels-fish-expected-rise-rain-pollution-20130822

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