Fish, Fisheries and Queryomics
The Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) in Gorham, Maine has released the results of a study of global mercury hotspots. The BRI’s masthead states that it is all about “Innovative Wildlife Science.” This is the understatement of the new year, says Beel.
Please, friends, let Beel present and comment on the BRI’s two “major” fish related findings (read them here for yourselves):
Beel admits this sounds ominous. But the BRI totally punked CBS News and is trying to punk you as well.
So, what did the BRI do and report? Working with the International Physical Activity and the Environment Network (IPEN), BRI sampled fish in 9 areas of the world. Yes a whole 9- as in 5% of the countries in the world- that were known before hand to be mercury hotspots. So, this is ubiquitous? Based on 7 marine samples, from around the world, and 2 freshwater samples from around the world, all of which were from areas known upfront to be a problem, the BRI concludes the problem is everywhere. Everywhere. You buying it? (If so, Beel has some seaside property in the Australian Outback for sale.)
The BRI and IPEN then collected fish from these hotspots and found- hold on- that these fish had high mercury concentrations. Really!
Beel, you ask, isn’t this like discovering that pizza restaurants serve pizza? Beel has to admit that it is.
In it’s worldwide sampling, the BRI sampled 108 individual fish, representing 12 out of about 25,000 species in the world, for mercury content. This is not a large sample.
All in all, the BRI reports, 84% of fish (as in, all fish in the world) had unhealthy concentrations of mercury. A “fact” reported by CBS. Note, the BRI sampled tuna, scabbardfish, halibut, carp, bream, and catfish, all of which were known before hand to generally have high concentrations of mercury based on their long lives and predatory habits (tuna, scabbardfish, halibut) or from feeding on bottom-dwelling organisms (carp, bream, catfish).
So, BRI collected fish from known mercury hotspots. The species collected were known to concentrate mercury. And they found what? Mercury!
Read the BRI’s report for yourself. It misrepresents the magnitude of the problem.
Beel’s concern is this: there is mercury contamination in some fish and the public should be knowledgeable about it, but if were you to take these results before a group of regulators or policy makers, you’d be dead in the water. They recognize this kind of “science” for what it is.