Skin cancer in fish triggers ozone scare
SKIN cancer in wild marine fish has been discovered for the first time, new research has revealed.
The study, conducted by Newcastle University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, found cases of melanoma in coral trout on the Great Barrier Reef, directly below the world’s largest hole in the ozone layer. The research team, led by Newcastle University’s Dr Michael Sweet, said this is the first time cancer has been found in wild fish and it is almost identical to that found in humans.
Dr Sweet said: “The individuals we looked at had extensive surface melanomas, which means the cancer had not spread any deeper than the skin so apart from the surface lesions the fish were basically healthy.
“Further work needs to be carried out to establish the exact cause of the cancer but having eliminated other likely factors such as microbial pathogens and marine pollution, UV radiation appears to be the likely cause.”
He added that the findings are “strongly linked” to UV. “It’s too much of a coincidence for it not to be linked to the hole in the ozone layer,” Dr Sweet said.
Up until this discovery melanoma in fish had only been seen under laboratory conditions.
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