These Fish Could Be Harbingers of a Major Human Health Crisis
Bad news, everyone. Researchers have discovered that 15% of the coral trout living in Australia’s great Barrier Reef are suffering from what’s been described as a scalier version of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. That’s unsettling for a number of reasons, but there are two big ones that should immediately give you pause.
1) This is the first case of melanoma ever documented in a wild fish population.
2) The Great Barrier Reef is directly beneath a gaping hole in Earth’s ozone layer.
In other words, this is the first (disturbingly strong) evidence that fish are developing skin cancer from ultraviolet radiation outside of a research laboratory. Two coral trout with melanoma can be seen up top (far left and center). A healthy coral trout, pictured above on the far right, shows that the fish is usually completely orange. Writes Science NOW’s Krystnell Storr: