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Young Fish Prefer Microplastics Over Plankton; Fish Population Threatened

Update Date: Jun 06, 2016 06:00 AM EDT

Microplastics littering the oceans and seas are threatening the world's fish population. A new research found that some fish prefer to eat microplastics over plankton and other food sources. This will ultimately stifle reproduction and wreak havoc on our ecosystem later on.

Microplastics Pollution - Garbage Littering Bodies of Water

Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastics that come from various man-made materials. Some microplastics come from microbeads that come from cosmetics and personal care products; others come from gradual degradation of bigger plastics. These materials aren't biodegradable and they end up in the oceans onto the stomachs of fishes, which prefer to eat them more than their natural food sources, The Guardian reported.

The Growing Threat of Microplastics in Oceans

European scientists revealed in a new study that young fish prefer to eat microplastics over planktons even when they have access to the latter. As a result, these young fishes don't develop normally so they become weaker and become easy prey to predators, Gizmodo shared. The more young fishes are exposed to microplastics, the more they prefer it as a food source as well.

The study published in the journal Science also revealed that apart from ocean pollution and low development of fish, microplastics also increase fish death. Those who did survive off eating microplastics become unfit and "more stupid," lead author Dr Ooona Lonnstedt said, as noted by BBC.

The researchers found that pike and perch fish population in the Baltic Sea has been on the decline in the past 20 years. Furthermore, there has been a spike of deaths in these young fishes in their larval stages. They believe that these are caused by microplastics littering the oceans which in turn will impact our ecosystem as a whole.

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