The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust had the Redfish Pharmaceutical Contaminants Study conducted by the Florida International University’s Coastal Fisheries research lab over the last year and their findings are pretty alarming but correctable if action is taken. Their study found 2.1 pharmaceuticals per redfish blood plasma samples. There were 113 Florida redfish sampled for 94 commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals and of those, 17 unique pharmaceuticals were found in all but 7 of the 113 fish with the antiarrhythmic agent flecainide being detected in 53% of the fish and the synthetic opioid analgesic tramadol being found in 52% of the fish.
Research in Europe shows that most pharmaceuticals can be removed from the wastewater treatment process by applying ozone treatment to wastewater. Florida’s efforts to upgrade and update wastewater infrastructure to remove nutrients (which contribute to Harmful Algal Blooms like red tide) should also include retrofitting existing wastewater treatment plants with additional treatment (like ozone) to address contaminants of emerging concern, requiring new wastewater treatment facilities to include these additional treatment steps, converting septic systems to residential wastewater treatment, and ensuring that wastewater facilities have the capacity to support current and future inputs.
To read a summary of this alarming report, visit the bonefishtarpontrust.org website.