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Fishy Tales
Project 1

Global evidence shows that many fish species ingest plastics.  However, very little is understood of the consequences of ingestion by fish and others in the food chain including humans. 

This project focuses on Sydney harbour amd investigates plastic ingestion in commercially and recreationally important Australian fish and how fish can be negatively affected by plastic ingestion.


In Stage 1, we are examining the incidence and partitioning of ingested microplastics in  common fished species: Blue Spotted flathead (Platycephalus caeruleopunctatus) and Tailor (Pomatomus saltatrix). It identifies the quantity and characteristics of ingested plastic such as polymer type, colour, shape and size within these fish, and explores how plastic type may relate to ecological factors such as diet.  The results of this study will provide a snapshot of what is happening in wild fish which ultimately has implications to the exposure of microplastics in human health.


In Stage 2, we are examining more closely how ingested micro plastics affect fish health, that is, plastics themselves and also toxins that may “hitch a ride” on these plastics.  Wea are conducting lab “dosing” studies whereby estuarine fish and freshwater mussels will eat pellets with microplastics and an adsorbed common naturally-occurring toxin.  We will assess the health (growth, behaviour reproduction) of each animal compared to control animals (pellets without plastics), to provide new critical evidence on the risks of microplastics to fish and fisheries, hence human health.


Our results will inform Fisheries managers and conservationists about capture and marketing of Australian fish.

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