Norwegian marine research institute: Oil pollution causes DNA damage in fish

HaddockPhoto: Gorm Kallestad / NTB Pluss
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Pollution from the oil industry causes long-term DNA damage in haddock, new research from the Institute of Marine Research shows.

Since 2002, researchers have found DNA damage in haddock caught in the large oil fields in the Tampen area, located in the northern part of the North Sea.

The Institute of Marine Research has now investigated which sources of pollution cause the same type of DNA damage. 

During laboratory tests, haddock ate feed contaminated with the chemicals from both production water, oil-contaminated sediment, and heavy tar (PAH) for two months. 

Then they got clean feed for two months.

Important results

“The results from the analyzes indicate that only one meal with contaminated feed was enough to find DNA damage in the liver,” researcher Sonnich Meier noted, adding that the damage remained for a long time after they started feeding the haddock with clean feed.

In the worst case, he says the result can lead to mutations and cancer.

“The damage occurs when the fish tries to get rid of “waste products” after it has been exposed to sources of pollution. Instead of the substances disappearing from the body, they bind to the DNA of the fish itself,” he added.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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