A recent scientific report published as a Marine Pollution Bulletin has highlighted evidence of plastic pollution in large pelagic fish in the Mediterranean. Previous studies had shown that plastic pollution was having an effect on large filter feeders, such as baleen whales, but there was little information as to whether plastic debris was having an impact on top predators.
The report identified plastic fragments in 3 species of fish including the Bluefin Tuna, a species already under serious threat in the Mediterranean due to over fishing and ‘ranching’.
Previous studies have proven that plastic particles in the oceans are a medium for the transportation and concentration of persistent organic pollutants and that these are subsequently getting into the food chain, becoming even more concentrated as they travel through it. This recent report highlights the fact that these opportunistic predators are not only under threat from this bioaccumulation of toxins, but also from the direct consumption of plastic debris. The potential impact on human health is an obvious concern.