“Alarmingly high levels” of heavy metals have been found in sharks in the Bahamas, a new study has found, reports The Independent.
Researchers said human activities over the last century had “rapidly accelerated” the influx of metals entering the marine environment.
looked at muscle tissues of 36 sharks from six different species for the study, published in Scientific Reports.
They said while the impacts on shark health was unknown, the concentrations of metals found exceeded levels that were considered toxic for human consumption.
The study concluded: “Our findings suggest that sharks residing within relatively pristine ecological environments may possess high levels of potentially harmful metals, which may have public health implications if they are consumed by local human populations.”
Dr Austin Gallagher, research co-author, said the study was “another piece of evidence to steer people away from consuming sharks”.
Sharks are not commonly eaten by people in the Bahamas, the researchers said.
The BTW research associate and postdoctoral researcher at the University of New Mexico said shark abundance was “relatively stable and healthy” in the Bahamas thanks to “effective long-term protection”.
“If levels are high in the Bahamas, imagine what they could be in other parts of the world where sustainability and environmental conservation are not a priority.”