Mackerel study points to plastics crisis
TRANG: After finding microplastics in the stomachs of mackerel caught in this southern province, researchers are expanding their study to include fish meat and shellfish.
Saowalak Khaosaeng, a research assistant at the provincial Marine National Park Operation Centre, said an initial study had indicated sea debris was having an impact on the marine food chain off Hat Chao Mai beach, an important habitat for commercial fish.
Researchers at the centre then collected mackerel from coastal fishermen near the Hat Chao Mai National Park, and examined their stomachs. They found an average of 78 pieces of microplastic, 1-5 millimetres across, in the stomach of each mackerel.
Ocean currents and saltiness breaks down plastic waste into microplastic, which the mackerel mistake for food, Ms Saowalak said.
The centre plans to expand its microplastics research to include mackerel meat and other popular commercial marine life, including shellfish, she said.
“This research is intended to make people aware of how waste should be disposed of and also to reveal the current condition of our ecosystems,” Ms Saowalak said.
“Sea debris has become a crisis. Everyone should help solve the problem at its root, especially by reducing the amount of waste we dump.”
She said many marine creatures were contaminated by plastic debris.
Marine scientists at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation examine microplastics in the stomach of a short mackerel that was caught in the southern province of Trang.