Skin Cancer Rampant Among Australia's Trout

Great Barrier Reef sits under large ozone hole

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 2, 2012 9:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – Look out, Snooki, sun tans are dangerous—even for fish. Scientists in Australia have discovered that 15% of coral trout in the Great Barrier Reef have gotten skin cancer from ultraviolet radiation. The Land Down Under, the LA Times notes, lies under the Earth's biggest hole in the ozone layer, and Australians have the highest skin cancer rate in the world—two out of every three will be diagnosed with it by age 70.

Researchers were conducting a survey of the coral trout when they started noticing dark patches on the fish, which they later confirmed were melanomas. And Mother Nature could be covering the true extent of the problem, says one marine ecologist with an eye on predators: "Somebody with advanced melanoma is being taken care of by doctors and loved ones, but fish will be eliminated fairly quickly." And while no accounts of skin cancer in fish have ever been published before, "When I talk to people who have been fishing for a long time, they tell me they've seen this since back in the 1980s," says a study co-author. And the

Coral trout
Coral trout   (Shutterstock)
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