New Research Regarding Why Fish (and Seabirds) Eat Plastic

Its long been known that fish seem to like plastic, really like plastic. But why?

Initially I heard things like, it’s small size was perfect for consumption. Maybe it was the color? It turns out that it’s really about the smell. Plastic smells like krill. Following is the story.

Laura Parker recently wrote a report for National Geographic that talks about the mystery behind why fish, and birds seem to like plastic so much.

Parker stated, “Algae are consumed by krill, a small crustacean that is the primary food source for many sea birds. As algae breaks down naturally in the ocean, they emit a stinky sulfur odor known as dimethyl sulfide (DMS). Sea birds in the hunt for krill have learned that the sulfur odor will lead them to their feeding grounds.

“It turns out that floating plastic debris provides the perfect platform on which algae thrives. As the algae breaks down, emitting the DMS odor, sea birds, following their noses in search of krill, are led into an “olfactory trap,” according to a new study published November 9 in Science Advances. Instead of feeding on krill, they feed on plastic.”

Well, so much for that mystery. Now, if we can only get the plastic companies to modify their formulas so that it’s not so attractive to the fish, birds and turtles and other sea life. Contemplate those possibilities.