We’ve Conditioned Fish to Love Eating Plastic: Here’s Why That’s a Serious Problem

Staff Writer
Research suggests that young fish prefer eating plastic over real food, gobbling it up like a teenager eats fast food
Unfortunately, the fish don’t seem to know better.

Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, the fish don’t seem to know better.

We’ve been warned about the dangers of polluting our oceans for decades, but here’s a consequence scientists never foresaw: fish getting used to (and developing an appetite for) plastic.

According to a recent study published by Uppsala University scientists in Science Journal, young fish actually prefer eating plastic and consume it voraciously “like teens eat fast food.” They specifically prefer microplastics (think microbeads found in soap).

A study has showed that 8 million tons of plastic enters the oceans every year, according to the BBC.

"Fish reared in different concentrations of microplastic particles have reduced hatching rates and display abnormal behaviors," explained Oona Lönnstedt, lead author of the study.

The new bizarre trend has resulted in stunted growth and increasing mortality rates amongst younger fish, and has worried scientists. The new diet has also altered their innate behaviors, making them less active and four times as likely to be eaten by predators. 

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