Seafood in city may be toxic, says Peta study

Seafood in the city could be brought from severely polluted waters and contains several toxic chemicals, a one-year study done by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals has revealed. The 13-page report called 'Assessment of Animal Welfare and Environmental Impact of Indian Fisheries and Aquaculture' also claimed that Mumbai has the country's most polluted coastline, and many of our waterways are contaminated with feaces, which carries dangerous pathogens like E-coli.

"Fish's bodies absorb toxic chemicals from the water around them ¿ including dioxins, radioactive substances, lead and arsenic ¿ and the chemicals become more concentrated as they move up the food chain," the study said.

The report — compiled after a year-long extensive research across the country's beaches, government ports, small, medium and large fish markets—¿ showed that the catch was usually kept and sold in unhygienic conditions in the markets, according to Nikunj Sharma, a senior campaigns coordinator of Peta.

"The risk of contamination due to flouting of basic hygiene laws in fish markets make these seafood even more hazardous to human consumption," he said. In Mumbai, major fishing colonies like the Versova and Bandra beach were studied.

The report also took a close look at the findings of various environmental organizations and institutes like the Toxic Links and Disha.

"Aside from the health aspect, we also want to sensitise people that killing of fish is as cruel as hurting a dog or a cat. Today, indiscriminate fishing across India has put the country's oceans under tremendous pressure. During our research we found that in some parts of the country, a medium size shark, fishing of which is banned, is sold for as little as Rs 15,00," Sharma said.

Coastal states like Andra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa were studied.

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