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Researchers puzzled by declining fish health

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Researchers puzzled by declining fish health
Despite the concerns over the health of Swedish fish, researchers say they are still safe to eat. Photo: Pi Frisk/SvD/TT
10:13 CEST+02:00
Researchers are scratching their heads over the discovery that the health of fish along Sweden's coasts has declined, despite the presence of fewer toxins in the area.

The worrying trend came to light in the wake of a research project carried out by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the University of Gothenburg and the Swedish Museum of Natural History that monitored the health of perch and eelpout stocks along the coast.

Scientists found that fish health had declined among the populations studied. There were more problems related to the immune system, liver function, reproductive organs and metabolism.

“These negative developments are a warning signal that something is not right in the environment,” Jens Olsson, a researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, told the unt.se site.

The tests on the fish were carried out in areas that are relatively unaffected by human activity, which makes the health problems more mysterious.

Olsson added that the degradation in fish health could be the result of a chemical or chemical cocktail that was not investigated. Or it could be due to a combination of other changes in the environment such as increased surface run-off, temperature variations in the water or changes in the diet of the fish.

Scientists are now looking for the explanation.

Despite the findings, Olsson pointed out that it was not dangerous to eat the fish.

“The environmental toxins and heavy metals that we tested for are generally below the threshold that would make them dangerous for human consumption,” he said.  

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