You’ve probably heard about the concern of consuming mercury, which is commonly found in fish. But how did this element get there in the first place? Are fish little mercury factories, generating this element in their scales? Many people wonder why this toxin is present in fish, making this query a fishing charter FAQ.
The fact is, human activity is responsible for making fish heavily laden with mercury. Here’s the scoop.
What is mercury and why is it dangerous?
Mercury is a chemical element. It occurs naturally throughout the world and can be found in plants and animals. It is a silver-white metal that is liquid at room temperature.
This element is toxic to the human central and peripheral nervous systems. Exposure can affect the immune, nervous and digestive systems, as well as kidneys and lungs. Consuming too much mercury can cause individuals to suffer from nervous system disorders and reproductive issues. Human fetuses exposed to mercury may be at risk of poor performance in language skills, verbal memory and fine motor function.
Why is mercury present in fish?
As mentioned, this element occurs naturally in plants and animals. However, human industrial activity releases significant amounts of mercury into the air. Processes such as smelting, waste incineration and coal-fired electricity generation all release airborne mercury. This works its way into the water systems, where marine life consumes it.
Why are some fish more mercury-laden than others?
The higher a fish is on the food chain, the more of its fellow fish it eats. It’s also likely to live longer. This means predators typically have higher mercury levels, since they are around longer to consume more mercury from the wildlife around them.
What fish pose the greatest mercury threat?
If you want to avoid high mercury levels, try to steer clear of king mackerel, shark, swordfish, bluefin tuna, bigeye tuna, wild sturgeon and walleye. Again, predators are more likely to have higher levels of mercury.
Can I safely eat any amount of mercury?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Food and Drug Administration regularly review mercury consumption and provide reports on how much of this element is safe to digest from fish. You can check the EPA website to view the latest reports and any recent advisories for your area. Typically, women and children are cautioned more heavily than men regarding their consumption of mercury, due to risks to reproduction and development.
Where can I find out more about fish and mercury?
Your local fishing charter offers expertise in all things related to fish. Feel free to get in touch with these professionals with any questions or concerns about mercury.
Do you have additional fishing charter questions? Contact the team at Sea Wife Charters. We would love to educate you about our world of fishing. We have over 20 years of experience in the fishing charter business, offering individual and shared charters for up to 18 people. Our in-depth knowledge of fishing and wildlife is at your disposal. Reach out to us today with any questions or to schedule your next fishing charter.