New research has shown for the first time, that larval fish across a range of fish species from different ocean habitats are surrounded by and ingesting plastics in their preferred nursery habitat.

Many of the world’s marine fish spend their first days or weeks feeding and developing at the ocean surface, but little is known about the ocean processes that affect the survival of larval fish. Larval fish are the next generation of adult fish that will supply protein and essential nutrients to people across the world. NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and an international team of scientists, including Bangor University in the UK, conducted one of the most ambitious studies to date, to shed light on this critically important knowledge gap.

Published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study combined field-based plankton tow surveys and advanced remote sensing techniques to identify larval fish nursery habitat in the coastal waters of Hawai‘i.

The team found that surface slicks contained far more larval fish than neighbouring surface waters. Surface slicks are naturally occurring, ribbon-like, smooth water features at the ocean surface. “They are formed by convergent ocean processes and observed in coastal marine ecosystems worldwide. They also aggregate plankton, which is an important food resource for larval fish”, said Dr. Jamison Gove, a research oceanographer for NOAA and co-lead of the study.

Click here to read more

No Comment

Comments are closed.