Catch of the Day: Fish with a Side of Plastic Debris and Textile Fibers

Scientists studying fish and shellfish sold for human consumption in Indonesian and American fish markets found the presence of man-made debris. Twenty eight percent of fish samples from Indonesia contained plastic debris, representing 55% fish species. In the United States, man-made debris was found in 25% fish, representing 67% of species tested. The debris was also found in 33% of shellfish sampled.

According to the study, all of the debris found in fish from Indonesia was plastic. The debris recovered from fish in the USA was made up mostly of textiles. Because the scientist could not use FTIR or Raman Spectroscopy to confirm the material type, they were unsure if the textiles recovered from the fish in the USA were made up of synthetic (i.e. plastic) or natural (i.e. cotton) fibers. 

The scientists hypothesized that the debris found in fish from Indonesia and the USA differ mainly due to the waste management techniques which vary between the countries. They highlight that further research is needed to test their hypothesis and to assess the connections of plastic contamination, seafood, and human health.