Concerns rise over microplastics in stomachs of mackerel

Concerns rise over microplastics in stomachs of mackerel

By Khanitta Sitong
The Nation



Photo Courtesy of The 3rd Marine National Park Operation Centre in Trang


The discovery of microplastics in the stomachs of mackerel caught in Trang Sea have raised concerns, but the 3rd Marine National Park Operation Centre urged Thais on Wednesday to refrain from panicking and shunning mackerel.


The centre urged people to instead get full awareness of the problem and join in tackling the sea garbage crisis.


The centre plans to expand its study to cover Trang's famous edible clams such as "Hoy Tapao" donax scortum clams, "Hoy Chakteen" wing shells, and "Hoy Phisua" butterfly clams.


Thai social media had widely shared and discussed the centre’s discovery of an estimated 78 pieces of microplastic on average in the stomachs of mackerel caught from Hat Chao Mai Beach.


Research assistant Saowalak Khaosaeng, 30, said the study stemmed from the centre's daily collection of garbage at sea to separate for types and weight to monitor the quantity of sea waste.


Realising that the garbage may have an impact on the food chain in the sea off Hat Chao Mai beach, which is the habitat of a large number of affordable commercial fish, the researchers in the past few months took 60 mackerel from fishermen and conducted lab tests on the stomachs of the fish, she said. They found that each mackerel's stomach contained approximately 78 pieces of microplastic invisible to the naked eye -- each 1 millimetre to 5mm -- as the salty seawater broke down the larger plastic garbage into microplastics. The mackerel mistook these tiny pieces for food and ate them, Saowalak explained.


The study did not cover the physical impact on the fish or the origin of such microplastics but aimed to raise public awareness about the state of the current ecosystem and encourage people to apply appropriate garbage disposal methods, she added.


Meanwhile, fresh fish shops at the Nakhon Trang Municipality Market on Wednesday were still buzzing with shoppers in the morning. Mackerel seller Atchara Lomkhong, 53, said she had heard about the discovery of microplastics in the stomachs of mackerel but she was yet to see any impact on her daily sales of mackerel at Bt120 per kilogram. She said this development was an urgent reminder for all to refrain from discarding plastic waste into rivers and seas.


Regular shopper Kornwan Thatchamongkol, 37, said she felt a bit wary after the discovery because she and her family ate a lot of mackerel every week. While saying she would continue to consume mackerel, she urged people not to dispose plastic garbage into the river and sea as they could create pollution.





-- © Copyright The Nation Thailand 2019-09-12
Follow Thaivisa on LINE for breaking Thailand news and visa info
latest news from Thailand

PM and former PDRC leader Suthep have first encounter for 5 years  Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had his first close encounter in over five years with Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, the former leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, during his visit to Koh Samui in Thailand’s southern...


Nationwide donations for flood victimsTanakorn Sangiam  BANGKOK, 14 September 2019(NNT) - People from across the country have continued to donate cash and necessities to help those affected by flooding. In Maha Sarakham, a charity concert has been held with several artists performing to express...


Worries rise as baht scales six-year highBy The Nation  The baht continued its upward trend, appreciating to Bt30.42 to the US dollar on Friday, up from Bt30.67 the previous Friday, after having risen to a six-year high of Bt30.36 at some time during the day. Regional currencies also moved up...


Network launches campaign to help women avoid sexual harassmentBy The Nation Nation/Anant Chantarasoot A network of organisations has joined hands to officially launch a campaign seeking people's help in identifying areas in Bangkok city where women could be at risk of sexual harassment, and for...