A new study conducted by a MUN Sociology assistant professor and her students show five cases of ingested plastics found in fish guts—which is a 2.4 per cent ingestion rate of marine plastic for tested cod.

This new study is part of a major project to examine marine plastic pollution and how it operates within food chains.

The study consists of collecting fish guts to count how many plastics that the cod are eating by collecting fish guts from stations across the Avalon Peninsula.

During September, when the second half of the Food Fishery takes place, students went out and collected a total of 205 fish guts throughout the Avalon in locations including Bell Island and Portugal Cove, where they collected five samples per location. In Petty Harbour alone, they obtained 100 samples of fish guts.

“[Marine] plastic is an increasingly big deal,” said Max Liboiron, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Environmental Sciences at MUN, who organized the study. “When plastics are floating in the water, they attract oily chemicals…When the fish eats it, it is transferred to the fish. So we might have a contaminate issue.”

With this being the first year of this study, Liboiron says that she plans on conducting one every year to determine if marine plastic pollution rates are going up or down, and they plan to do the same thing for birds next year.

The chemicals in these plastics that attract fish are called Endocrine Disrupters, with Bisphenol A (BPA) being the most common found in mammals. This slows down the development of the brain and the fetus in mammals. The average plastic ingestion rate in the world by fish is 30 per cent. Liboiron says that they will be doing more research to find out if this is becoming a problem.

“Our concern is that for people who eat these animals will be exposed to these chemicals,” said Liboiron.

A public meeting to announce the full results of this study will occur on January 21 in Petty Harbour at the Petty Harbour Recreation Center.

To find out more of the results, visit http://bit.ly/1PoYygP