Clean Power Plan / Coal / Energy

Success story: Cleaner bluefish show effectiveness of US coal regulations, study says

Large drop in bluefish mercury levels suggest fish eaters are consuming less of the toxic metal – and that U.S. reductions are working


DURHAM, NC — “Mercury levels in bluefish caught off the U.S. Atlantic coast dropped more than 40 percent over the past four decades thanks to federal restrictions on coal emissions, according to a new study.

This is good news not only for bluefish but for the entire predator fish population in the Mid-Atlantic. And it’s better news for people fond of eating the tasty fish, often served broiled or baked, as it suggests that mercury reductions due to coal-fired plant emissions crackdowns in North America have quickly led to less contamination in marine life.

… Coal-fired plants are big mercury contributors to the atmosphere – where most emission pollution gets dumped – and the ocean, where those pollutants eventually settle.

Efforts over the past few decades to reduce stack emissions has led to quick and dramatic improvements in local air quality. But researchers and regulators assumed any change in ocean conditions and fish mercury contamination would take at least a century to see, given the vastness, said senior author of the study Richard Barber, a professor emeritus of biological oceanography at Duke University.”

— Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News

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