A study found pharmaceutical drugs are in fish located in Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys. Scientists said this is an alarming find and it’s because the drugs are coming from our homes directly to the water.
“When we see this many pharmaceuticals in an ocean-dwelling fish that live in our costal waters, that becomes a cause of concern,” said Aaron Adams, Director of Science and Conservation for Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.
Researchers at FIU and the non-profit have been working on a study for years testing bonefish in South Florida.
They tested nearly 100 fish and found an average of seven pharmaceutical drugs per fish, even finding 17 in one single fish.
“Imagine going to your pharmacy with a list of 17 different pharmaceuticals that your doctor gave you prescription for, the pharmacist would freak out,” said Adams.
Some of the drugs found included painkillers, heart medications and antidepressants.
Bonefish are catch and release only in Florida. But Adams said they are economically and culturally important throughout the region.
“When you consider the fact that Florida’s recreational fisheries are worth over $10 billion a year and thousands of jobs, tourism...that should be enough right there," he said.
Adams added the next steps need to be finding a solution. He fears there could be a huge possibility for broader implications like the drugs eventually getting into our drinking water.
“We know the problems and we know the solutions. We know we have to update our wastewater treatment systems as well as municipal sewage treatment. And that can be done,” said Adams.
Sign up for our Breaking newsletter to get the most urgent news stories in your inbox.