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UC Davis Home Page

September 24, 2015

 

Man holding a big fish to the camera in a fish market with baskets of fish in the background

UC Davis researchers found plastic and fibrous debris in 25 percent of the fish sold in Indonesian and California markets. (Dale Trockel/photo)

Roughly a quarter of the fish sampled from fish markets in California and Indonesia contained human-made debris — plastic or fibrous material — in their guts, according to a study from the University of California, Davis, and Hasanuddin University in Indonesia.

The study, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, is one of the first to directly link plastic and human-made debris to the fish on consumers’ dinner plates.

“It’s interesting that there isn’t a big difference in the amount of debris in the fish from each location, but in the type — plastic or fiber,” said lead author Chelsea Rochman, a David H. Smith postdoctoral fellow in the Aquatic Health Program at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “We think the type of debris in the fish is driven by differences in local waste management.”

‘Waiter, there’s some plastic in my fish’

The researchers sampled 76 fish from markets in Makassar, Indonesia, and 64 from Half Moon Bay and Princeton in California. All of the fragments recovered from fish in Indonesia were plastic. In contrast, 80 percent of the debris found in California fish was fibers, whereas not a single strand of fiber was found in Indonesian fish.

 

 

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