Mercury is a continued problem in the Pacific Ocean. Studies have found that over the last several decades, the increase has been by as much as a third in the waters of the Pacific, and now, new studies are proving that the mercury level is rising in Yellowfin Tuna, as well. The study found that the rate at which mercury levels have been increasing in these fish since 1998 is roughly 3.8% annually. Ultimately, the study notes that this is due to the human-factor that’s associated with climate change. As we continue to pump more, and more pollutants into the atmosphere, those toxic elements – like heavy metal mercury are becoming increasingly prevalent in the ocean food chain.
Paul Drevnick of the University of Michigan, and the lead author of this study said Evidence is piling up that the methyl mercury has an anthropogenic source. It’s coming from mercury emissions that are falling into the ocean.” Many within the science realm have pointed to the burning of coal as a major reason more mercury is being found in the Pacific Ocean and the creatures within the Pacific Ocean. They called the findings a concern and noted that the change is necessary to our dependency on coal.
As a global community, veering away from coal will have a number of positive impacts. Not just on the aquatic world, but on the climate as well. Eventually though, the authors of the study said that a time will come when we won’t have a choice in the matter. It will be stop burning coal, or stop surviving and living the type of lifestyle that we as humans have grown accustomed to. There is also a food battle that is taking place with the companies that can tuna. In California it is required for companies who can tuna to place mercury warnings on the food, but due to a caveat in the rule – giving those tuna canners the opportunity to use “natural causes” of the mercury as evidence and support to not include a warning – might be tossed out.
Now that it’s known that it isn’t necessarily entirely natural, and that there is significant data to show that it isn’t natural – this might be an opportunity for the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to make some changes to the way these companies have to act. This will certainly be cause for concern for those who are particularly vulnerable to mercury, like those who are pregnant.