You already knew, perhaps, that the waterways of the earth are fortified with pharmaceuticals, turning male fish female and female fish male. But did you know that by lacing the oceans with our leftover anti-anxiety medications, we have bred a generation of fish that do not know fear?
From Scientific American:
Antianxiety drugs may be making fishes more aggressive. New laboratory tests reveal that even extremely low concentrations of the calming drugs benzodiazepinesâ€”more commonly known as Valium, Xanax and othersâ€”cause fishes to become less timid and to feed faster, among other effects.
Benzodiazepines affect fish in the same way they do humans, by “stimulating the GABA receptor,” and fish exposed to high levels of the drug become more aggressive while at the same time less social. A good rule of thumb in life is that the less afraid fish are, the more afraid humans should become. The ocean was already a nightmare den of blind and jawless killers stumbling about in the dark trying to eat as many of their companions to death as possible; now the final barrier to total anarchy has been removed.
No longer will fish bolt upwards in the middle of the night, staggered awake by the ferocity of the fears and anxieties that once clawed forth from the dark recesses between their lungs and their hearts. Now they blithely zip from grotto to rock to ocean floor, joyfully murdering one another. how long before their thoughts turn upwards, to those who dwell above the surface of the sea?
We have given the fish the tools to bring about our own destruction.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]