Spain’s biggest newspaper, El País, featured Oceana prominently in this morning’s cover story. The article describes Oceana’s unrelenting effort to make previously confidential research regarding unsafe mercury levels in large fish freely accessible to the public, highlighting an important victory with implications for the health of the Spanish populace and the transparency of the Spanish government.
Here’s the back story: in 2003, Spain’s Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) conducted a large research study that documented levels of mercury and other heavy metals in large fish such as various sharks, swordfish, and bluefin tuna.
The results of the study were not good: 62.5 percent of the 128 mako shark samples and 54.2 percent of the swordfish samples contained high, unpermitted levels of mercury. Despite this alarming evidence, the results were never released due to concerns about its possible impact on the fishing industry.
Here at Oceana, we’ve been fighting to reduce mercury use and pollution across the United States.
We’re working to ensure the passage of the Mercury Pollution Reduction Act, which would eliminate mercury use by some of the dirtiest chemical plants in the country, while boosting local economies through job creation and job-loss prevention.
95% of the Chlor-Alkali manufacturing plants in the U.S. are mercury free -- only four remain that use outdated mercury based production techniques. It is time for these last four plants to clean up their act. This bill would force them to do just that.