October 27, 2016

Oceana and Sky Truth Launch Global Fishing Watch

Oceana, Sky Truth and Google are announcing the launch of  Global Fishing Watch, a technology platform that creates the first global view of commercial fishing. It will give consumers an online platform to share and track information about fishing activity around the world. The system is designed to make what happens on the world's oceans visible and transparent. Too many fishermen harvest using bottom trawling and bycatch, which catches and destroys many vulnerable and important species of fish and marine life. Sustaining the health of the ocean is a critical priority for the future of the world and its citizens. Andrew Sharpless, CEO of Oceana, said in a statement, "Global Fishing Watch is designed to empower all stakeholders, including governments, fishery managers, citizens and … [Read more...]

FDA Updates Fish Advisory for Pregnant Women, Others

The Food and Drug Administration has updated their advice on how much fish pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and young children should eat, considering that much of that food is contaminated with mercury. This draft will replace the current advice issued ten years ago. Several advocacy groups, including Environmental Working Group, have been critical of the government's apparent lack of information and response on this issue. The FDA's last advice in 2011 told pregnant women to double their intake of fish to get more omega-3 fatty acids. This recommendation put pregnant women at risk of consuming harmful amounts of mercury. Mercury is actually present in food in the form of methylmercury. This neurotoxic compound adversely affects a developing fetus' brain and neurological … [Read more...]

Oceana Report Exposes Nine of the Dirtiest U.S. Fisheries

A report by Oceana has exposed the nine dirtiest fisheries in the U.S. These facilities throw away almost half of what they catch, and are responsible for more than 50% of all the reported "bycatch" in the U.S., which includes protected and endangered species. Bycatch is the term for fish that are unintentionally caught when fishing for allowed species. The amount is estimated at 2 billion pounds every year, which is equivalent to the entire annual catch of many other fishing nations in the world. The report is called "Wasted Catch: Unsolved Bycatch Problems in U.S. Fisheries." Those species that are killed and discarded overboard include sea turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks, sea birds, and protected fish. Amanda Keledjian, marine scientist at Oceana said in a statement, "It's no … [Read more...]

High Mercury, Dioxin Levels Prompt Texas Fish Advisory

High mercury and dioxin levels in fish from the Neches River Basin have prompted the Texas Department of State Health Services to issue a consumer advisory. Six species are named in the advisory which covers the Sam Rayburn Reservoir, the B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir and the stretch of river between the State Highway 7 bridge west of Lufkin and the Highway 96 bridge near Evadale. Eating fish with elevated levels of mercury or dioxin can cause illness. Children under 12 and women who are nursing, pregnant or who may become pregnant are at special risk for mercury and dioxin in food as these toxins can affect the nervous systems of unborn and young children. Swimming in these waters should not pose a health risk, authorities said. Women of childbearing age and children 12 and under should … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch on Fisheries Research and the TPP

Food & Water Watch director Wenonah Hauter has issued a statement on her concerns over fisheries research and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement. Nine members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative today asking about the eliminating of tariffs on imported fish. Those tariffs fund domestic fisheries research. The TPP is a highly controversial agreement between the countries of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, and Peru. This group has an economic power 40% larger than the European Union. Its stated purpose is to promote development and create jobs. Critics say that it may limit governmental control over environmental and food safety issues, and would elevate foreign firms to equal status with … [Read more...]

Texas Issues Warning About Fish Contaminated with Mercury

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued a warning telling people not to consume or to limit consmption of certain fish caught in all waters off Texas because of unsafe mercury levels. Mercury can damage the central nervous system, particularly in unborn children. Symptoms of mercury poisoning include liver damage, tingling of the skin, loss of coordination, visual and hearing impairment, and slurred speech. Women of childbearing age, nursing mothers, and children 12 years old and younger should not consume blackfin tuna, blue marlin, bonito, crevalle jack, king mackerel, shark, swordfish, and wahoo. Women past childbearing age and adult men can eat everything except blue marlin 1 meal per week or 2 meals per month. A meal includes, at most, an 8 ounce serving of … [Read more...]

MN Department of Health Surveys of East Metro PFC Exposure

The Minnesota Department of Health has been studying East Metro residents' exposure to perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in a Biomonitoring Project. Drinking water was the major source of exposure to the chemical for most people. Groundwater contamination caused the problem. The first East Metro PFC Biomonitoring Project studied the levels of PFCs in the blood of 196 adults in 2008. The people lived in Oakdale, Lake Elmo, and Cottage Grove. A follow-up study in 2010 to 2011 measured the levels to see if they changed. A presentation will be given to residents on May 15, 2013, along with updates on water testing and the MDH study of PFCs in home-grown produce. The study found that participants who drank unfiltered water for more years had higher PFC blood levels. The more water a person drank, … [Read more...]

CDC Warns of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning in New York City

In the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published February 1, 2013, ciguatera fish poisoning is addressed. From August 2010 to July 2011, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene received reports of six outbreaks and one single case of ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) that sickened 28 people. In the previous ten years, there were only 21 people sickened with this toxin in New York City. Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you about this issue before. This illness used to occur only in the tropics, but the algae that produces the toxin, which fish eat, has now been found in the waters in Florida, Texas, South Carolina, and Miami. There are no practical field tests available to monitor fish for this toxin. The illness … [Read more...]

Rare Toxin Found in Fish Becoming More Common

Because of harmful algal blooms, a rare illness caused by a toxin in fish is becoming more common in the United States. Ciguatera poisoning is the most common seafood-related illness in the world. It used to occur only in fishing communities located in the tropics, but the algae that produces the toxin has been found in fish caught off the waters in Florida, Texas, South Carolina, and Miami and caused outbreaks. And the globalization of our food supply has caused outbreaks in Alaska and Ohio. Food poisoning usually occurs in several ways: You eat food infected with bacteria or viruses that cause an infection, or you ingest chemicals or toxins present in contaminated food. Parasites, prions (mad cow disease) and protozoa can also cause food poisoning. Ciguatera is a foodborne illness … [Read more...]

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