A study of European perch larvae found for the first time that exposure to high concentrations of microplastics stunts growth and alters their feeding habits, leading them to only eat plastic and ignore their natural food source of free swimming zooplankton.
Experiments found the microplastic particles caused 15 percent fewer hatchings. What is more, two week old larvae were much less able to escape predation, leading to reduced survival.
Also, fish reared in the highest concentrations of plastics were significantly smaller than those that developed in average ones.
If this response in fish larvae translates to higher mortality rates as a result of increased predation risk in nature, there could be direct consequences for the sustainability of fish stocks.
Read The Telegraph