19:08 GMT04 March 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    Far from helping every fish be happy-go-lucky down under the sea, it turns out human antidepressants could be numbing our gilled friends to their environment.

    A new study published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal found that high concentrations of antidepressants were building up in the brain tissue of bass, walleye and several other common fish found in the Great Lakes region.

    Discovered in the brain tissue of 10 fish species in the Niagara River, researchers suspected the antidepressants were spewing from nearby wastewater plants.

    "These active ingredients from antidepressants, which are coming out from wastewater treatment plants, are accumulating in fish brains," Diana Aga, lead scientist, said. "It is a threat to biodiversity, and we should be very concerned."

    According to Aga, though her study didn't directly examine the effect of drugs on fish behavior, the presence of the drugs could have an effect on fish survival instincts, as some swimmers won't react to a nearby predator.

    "The levels of antidepressants found do not post a danger to humans who eat the fish, especially in the US, where most people do not like the brain," Randolph Singh, the study's co-author, said. "However, the risk that the drugs pose to biodiversity is real, and scientists are just beginning to understand what the consequences might be."

    In one fish alone, a rock bass, the scientists found 400 nanograms of norsertraline per gram of brain tissue. Norsertraline is an active ingredient in Zoloft, which is used to treat depression, OCD and PTSD.

    In addition to the norsertraline, the same fish had traces of citalopram and norfluoxetine, which are found in Celexa, an antidepressant, and Prozac and Sarafem, which also treat depression, OCD, bulimia and panic disorders.

    More than half of the fish collected by the group had at least 100 nanograms per gram or higher of norsertraline in their brain tissue along with several other antidepressant ingredients.

    Though the findings do raise concern, the officials added that more studies must be conducted in order to get the full picture of what's going on in the region.

    The research team, aided by the efforts of scientists at Thailand's Ramkhamhaeng University and Khon Kaen University, found their specimens in the Niagara River that connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, two the of five great lakes. 


    Half Fish, All Woman: Charming Mermaids Take to Life in Brazil
    UK to Allow EU Citizens to Fish in EU Territorial Waters After Brexit
    Birds, Fish and Grain: 10 Strange Things That Rained From the Sky
    Nice Catch! Putin Says Biggest Fish He Ever Caught Weighed 44 Pounds
    It's Alive! Eerie Faceless Fish Found in Australian Abyss (PHOTO)
    fish, antidepressants, Great Lakes
    Community standardsDiscussion