Higher levels of toxic mercury found in tuna and cod
Scientists have linked an increase of mercury levels in marine life to global warming and overfishing.
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS — New research has linked an increase of toxic mercury in marine life to global warming and overfishing.
Research by Harvard scientists analyzed data from the Gulf of Maine in the Atlantic Ocean. According to Reuters, it found a 23 percent increase of methylmercury, a type of organic mercury, in cod fish and 27 percent in bluefin tuna over the past 30 years.
The study, published in the journal Nature, found that as the climate warms the oceans, bigger fish such as bluefin tuna eat more because they need more energy. This means they consume more prey with higher levels of methylmercury."
Researchers also found that overfishing of smaller herring and sardines had changed the diet of Atlantic cod, with the fish now eating larger herrings and lobsters.
Both contain higher levels of methylmercury.
The research notes that the consumption of contaminated fish could impact human health. It says that methylmercury has been associated with long-term neurocognitive dysfunction in children that were exposed to methylmercury while in the womb.
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