Fish show quick improvement when mercury releases into lakes cut off: study

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Published December 21, 2021 at 3:21 pm

New research has found mercury contamination in freshwater fish populations falls quickly once the sources of the toxic chemical are cut off.

Federal government scientist Paul Blanchfield, lead author of the study, says the finding that lakes can rebound quickly from mercury pollution is good news.

The finding may seem simple.

But Blanchfield says it took 15 years of experimentation to prove that mercury loads in fish such as whitefish and northern pike dropped quickly when mercury was no longer added to the lake.

He says the findings prove that regulations to reduce mercury emissions do make a difference to ecosystems almost right away.

The research was conducted at the Experimental Lakes Area, a unique series of lakes in Ontario that was nearly closed under the Harper Conservative government.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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