Plastic tags in our food web

On May 20 2016 Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced its intention to implement a licensing and tagging system for the Newfoundland and Labrador Recreational Groundfish fishery beginning in the 2017 season. Under this new system fishermen and women will be required to attach plastic tags to their fish in an attempt to monitor the harvest. Since carcasses are generally returned to the water after filleting, this practice will open up an entirely new pathway for the introduction of plastics into our marine environment and into our food webs. Once introduced, plastics can be quickly dispersed; Newfoundland and Labrador lobster tags dating back as far as 1988 have been found as far away as the shores of Scotland and England (Hill, 2015), so a mistake now can have effects for generations. These particles are available to be ingested by marine species, introducing their potentially harmful effects into the human food web. Scientists have found that toxic chemicals such as pesticides, methyl mercury, benzene, and other pollutants, adhere to plastics and accumulate in an animals’ tissues when those plastics are ingested (Mato et al., 2001; Rochman et al., 2013; Teuten et al., 2009). Last summer, the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research at MUN conducted a study on the plastic ingestion rate in cod caught on the island and found one of the lowest rates in the world – just 2.4% (Liboiron et al., 2016)- let’s keep it that way!

 

We ask that if this tagging system is really necessary, one possibility is that DFO use metal tags similar to the ones they use in their own research rather than plastic, a known marine pollutant.

 

The public consultation process on the new licensing and tagging system is currently underway. Comments and feedback can be submitted via email to NL.Rec.Groundfish-Peche.recr.du.poisson.de.fond.TNL@dfo-mpo.gc.ca from now until November 30 2016. Signing the petition below automatically sends a letter to this address. Please enter your information in the fields below to send your letter. Click on “Read the Petition” if you would like to edit the letter before you send it. Further information and a schedule of public consultation meetings can be found on the DFO website at http://www.inter.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/NL/CC/Recreational-Groundfish-Consultations-2016

 

This letter has been drafted by scientists at the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR), a marine science laboratory at Memorial University of Newfoundland that has been conducting studies of plastic pollution in Newfoundland fish.

Your letter

Dear DFO,

 

I am writing in response to DFO’s intention to implement a licensing and tagging system for the Newfoundland and Labrador Recreational Groundfish fishery beginning in the 2017 season. I am deeply concerned about the plastic pollution this tagging regime will introduce to our waters and food web. Since carcasses are generally returned to the water after filleting, this practice will open up an entirely new pathway for the introduction of plastics into our marine environment and into our food webs. Once introduced, plastics can be quickly dispersed; Newfoundland and Labrador lobster tags dating back as far as 1988 have been found as far away as the shores of Scotland and England (World Animal Protection, 2015), so a mistake now can have effects for generations. These particles are available to be ingested by marine species, introducing their potentially harmful effects into the human food web. Scientists have found that toxic chemicals such as pesticides, methyl mercury, benzene, and other pollutants, adhere to plastics and accumulate in an animals’ tissues when those plastics are ingested (Mato et al., 2001; Rochman et al., 2013; Teuten et al., 2009). Last summer, the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research at MUN conducted a study on the plastic ingestion rate in cod caught on the island and found one of the lowest rates in the world – just 2.4% (Liboiron et al., 2016 )- let’s keep it that way!

 

We ask that if this tagging system is really necessary, one possibility is that DFO use metal tags similar to the ones they use in their own research rather than plastic, a known marine pollutant.

 

Sincerely,

[Your name]

cc

Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Hon. Edward Fast, Conservative Critic of Environment and Climate Change
Hon. Nathan Cullen, NDP Critic of Environment and Climate Change

Sign the letter against plastic tags in our food web

This petition is now closed.

End date: Dec 01, 2016

Signatures collected: 64

64 signatures
Latest Participants
64Lisa PenneyVancouver, BCNov 30, 2016
63Michael LantosSt.Johns, Newfoundland and LabradorNov 23, 2016
62Pamela MetcalfeSt.John`s, NewfoundlandNov 22, 2016
61Alicia PooleConception Harbour, NLNov 20, 2016
60Jessica CaporussoToronto, OntarioNov 16, 2016
59Kim PloughmanPortugal Cove, NL Nov 16, 2016
58Carissa BrownSt. John's, NLNov 15, 2016
57Jessica MelvinTors Cove, NewfoundlandNov 11, 2016
56Lloyd HulmesBridgend, Wales, UKNov 11, 2016
55Patricia BoushelMontreal , QCNov 10, 2016
54Edward AllenSt.John's, Newfoundland and LabradorNov 09, 2016
53Hillary WainwrightSt. John's, NLNov 09, 2016
52JA LedwellSt. Johns, NLNov 08, 2016
51Christine CorneliaSointula, bNov 08, 2016
50Harvey BellowsLark HarbourNov 08, 2016
49Anika TruterVancouver, British ColumbiaNov 08, 2016
48Jill ChidleySt.johns , NLNov 08, 2016
47Kathy CorbettHOLYROOD, Newfoundland and LabradorNov 08, 2016
46Pam HallSt. John's, Newfoundland and LabradorNov 08, 2016
45Hilda BucklesPortugalCkve, NlNov 08, 2016
44Catherine StroudNov 07, 2016
43Kelly JazvacNov 07, 2016
42Heather DavisNov 07, 2016
41Margie MulcahySt. John's, NewfoundlandNov 07, 2016
40Megan MewsFoxtrap, NLNov 07, 2016
39Amy SheppardSt John's, NLNov 07, 2016
38Shawna CraigSt. John's , NlNov 07, 2016
37elizabeth philpottgander, NewfoundlandNov 07, 2016
36Helen MurphySt. John's , NLNov 07, 2016
35Theresa RyanSt. John's, Newfoundland and LabradorNov 07, 2016
34Marie WebberCBS, NLNov 07, 2016
33Arn KeelingSt. John's, NLNov 07, 2016
32Phoebe MetcalfeSt. John's, NewfoundlandNov 07, 2016
31Fred WinsorSt. John's, Newfoundland and LabradorNov 07, 2016
30RaeAnne Tremblett-OsmondClarenville, NLNov 07, 2016
29Ann-Marie WellsCBS, NewfoundlandNov 07, 2016
28Tomas SanguinettiSt. John's, NewfoundlandNov 07, 2016
27Ann Marie GushMahers, NLNov 07, 2016
26Leo HearnPetty Harbour, NewfoundlandNov 07, 2016
25Kimberly OrrenPetty Harbour, NewfoundlandNov 07, 2016
24Jan NegrijnSt John's, NFNov 07, 2016
23Janet HarronSt. John's, NLNov 07, 2016
22Oonagh ButterfieldToronto, OntarioNov 07, 2016
21Gail HickeySt. John's, NLNov 07, 2016
20Alex Beckconception bay south, NewfoundlandNov 07, 2016
19Jessica GouldHalifax, Nova ScotiaNov 07, 2016
18Timothy AndrewsFort St. James, British ColumbiaNov 07, 2016
17Emily WellsCBS, Newfoundland and LabradorNov 07, 2016
16Judy PowerSt. John's , NLNov 07, 2016
15Madeline BurySt. John's, Newfoundland and LabradorNov 07, 2016
14Karen StanbridgeSt. John's, NLNov 07, 2016
13Maria MayrSt. John's, NLNov 07, 2016
12Jacquelyn SaturnoSt. John's, NewfoundlandNov 07, 2016
11Ariel SmithLunenburg, Nova ScotiaNov 07, 2016
10Kate WinsorSt. John's, NLNov 07, 2016
9Katy WarrenSt. John's, NLNov 07, 2016
8Charles MatherSt John's, NLNov 07, 2016
7France LiboironParadise, NewfoundlandNov 07, 2016
6Nicole PowerOuter Cove, NewfoundlandNov 07, 2016
5Ky ReesKilbride, NLNov 07, 2016
4Natasha MyersToronto, OnNov 07, 2016
3Carley SchacterSt. John's, Newfoundland & LabradorNov 07, 2016
2Sarah MartinSt. John's , NewfoundlandNov 07, 2016
1Max LiboironSt. John's, NLNov 07, 2016

References

  1. Hill, T. (2015, June 20). Abandoned fishing gear makes 3,000-mile journey to litter Scotland’s beaches. Retrieved from http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/06/20/maine-lobster-traps-show-scotland
  2. Liboiron, M., Liboiron, F., Wells, E., Richárd, N., Zahara, A., Mather, C., Bradshaw, H., Murichi, J. (2016). Low plastic ingestion rate in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) from Newfoundland destined for human consumption collected through citizen science methods. Marine Pollution Bulletin, MPB-08118, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.10.043
  3. Rochman, C.M., Hoh, E., Kurobe, T., Teh, S.J. (2013). Ingested plastic transfers hazardous chemicals to fish and induces hepatic stress. Scientific Reports, 3:3263. http://dx.doi.org/10. 1038/srep03263.
  4. Teuten, E. L., Saquing, J. M., Knappe, D. R. U., Barlaz, M. A., Jonsson, S., Björn, A., Rowland, S. J., Thompson, R. C., Galloway, T. S., Yamashita, R., Ochi, D., Watanuki. Y., Moore, C., Viet, P. H., Tana., T. S., Prudente, M., Boonyatumanond, R., Zakaria, M. P., Akkhavong, K., Ogata, Y., Hirai, H., Iwasa, S., Mizukawa, K., Hagino, Y., Imamura, A., Sahu, M., & Takada, H. (2009). Transport and release of chemicals from plastics to the environment and to wildlife. Philisophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 364(1526), 2027-2045. doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.0284