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NOAA study: Yellow perch quickly purge a harmful algal toxin

December 8, 2011

Great Lakes perch lovers will find good news in a new NOAA study that shows yellow perch efficiently eliminate a harmful algal toxin from their tissues. The findings suggest that unless the fish are caught during a toxic algal bloom, eating them will not likely expose people to unsafe levels of the toxin known as microcystin.

The study, by scientists at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Wayne State University, is now online in the journal Marine Drugs.

Perch are one of the most popular fish caught by commercial and recreational fishers in the Great Lakes – and one of the most frequently consumed. In recent years, however, their habitat has experienced more frequent blooms of microcystin-producing algae. When humans consume contaminated food or water, microcystin can cause liver damage and gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. The World Health Organization recommends a certain limit on a person’s daily intake of microcystin. 


Availability of scientist to discuss yellow perch study


Juli Dyble, Ph.D., lead author of the study and aquatic biologist, NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory


To arrange an interview, please contact Linda Joy, NOAA Research Public Affairs, 301-734-1165 or linda.joy@noaa.gov.

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