Mercury and Commercial Salmon

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Commercial salmon is an important source of nutrition for humans in both urban populations and aboriginal peoples. However, mercury contamination in salmonids has been a rising concern not only for the health of humans but for the health of wildlife and ecosystems that are affected by it. Mercury is distributed widely through the environment through natural processes, but anthropogenic processes have been increasing mercury concentrations in the environment to dangerous levels through direct deposition in soil and through atmospheric deposition. In this essay, I will review the processes in which mercury circulated through the ecosystems, how salmon is affected by it, and how the consumption of salmon affects human health. About Salmonids Salmonids is a group of species classified under the family Salmonidae. Salmonidae consists of 5 genera and 14 species primarily residing in the arctic. The family of salmonidae includes salmons, trouts, and chars. A few species of salmonidae discussed in this essay include the sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerca), rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), brown trout (Salmo trutta), cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki), Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) (Farrell and Steffensen, 2005). Overview of the Circulation of Mercury Inorganic mercury becomes deposited into the atmosphere and soil by both natural processes and anthropogenic processes. Natural processes include volcanic events, breakdown of

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