IIT-H, Harvard University study mercury accumulation in fish

By admin August 10, 2019 17:56

News: A joint research has found that though there has been a decrease in the levels of mercury pollution, the amount of mercury found in fish have been different in different species. This research studied how climate change impacts mercury accumulation in fish.

 Research by: It was a joint research by the Harvard University, Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H), and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a Canadian government agency.

 Finding: Level of Mercury pollution has been decreased but the amount of mercury found in fish have been different in different species – some types of fish have less mercury than before, and some fish have alarmingly high level.

 Reason: Variation in this accumulation of mercury in the fish is due to:

  • changes in sea temperature in the recent years

  • changes in the dietary pattern of fish due to overfishing.

 Factors contributing to mercury accumulation in fish are:

1. overfishing, which leads to dietary changes among marine animals.

2. variations in the temperature of the sea water, which leads to changes in fish metabolism that gears towards survival rather than growth.

3. changes in the amounts of mercury found in sea water as a result of pollution.


Relation between sea temperature and Mercury level

  • Researchers have modelled the mercury levels found in the Atlantic BlueFin Tuna (ABFT).

  • There was a decrease in tissue mercury levels in the ABFT between 1990 and 2012, and this was driven by a fall in sea temperature during that period.

  • However, continued warming in the Gulf of Maine would cause a reversal and the amount of mercury in ABFT could increase to almost 30% by 2030.

  • This highlights the importance of sea temperature on mercury accumulation in the marine food chain.


Mercury and health problems

  • Mercury is a heavy metal found naturally in water, soil and air, water, and soil.

  • Mercury is released into the environment in several ways, including through

    • industrial processes like burning coal or

    • natural events like eruptions.

  • People can be exposed to the mercury toxin by number of methods , such as breathing in mercury vapors during mining and industrial work.

  • One can also be exposed to mercury by eating fish and shellfish because these animals absorb low concentrations of mercury due to water pollution.


Health problems

  • Exposure to mercury can cause serious health problems. In both humans and animals, higher levels of mercury are associated with brain problems.

  • Exposure is also linked to the conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, depression, and anxiety.

 Source –


By admin August 10, 2019 17:56