Researchers have found the first cases of skin cancer in the wild marine fish population, LiveScience reported. The sick fish were discovered directly underneath the Antarctic ozone hole, in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. "UV radiation appears to be the likely cause," study researcher Michael Sweet, of Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, said in a statement, according to LiveScience.
Sweet's research team found that the fish skin cancer is almost identical to the melanoma that has been increasingly found in humans, The Independent reported.
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The researchers found that a total of 15 percent of coral trout in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef suffer from skin cancer, Outdoor Life reported. “To the best of our knowledge, cancer of any sort has never been shown in a wild marine fish population before, making this a first for science,” Sweet told the Scientific American.
Fish skin cancer is an issue that has mostly been ignored due to how expensive and time-consuming that type of research can be, the Scientific American reported. Yet the issue is an important one, as the overall effect of skin cancer in fish population "could be devastating," the Scientific American said. “Without addressing the underlying issues, sadly, there is likely no feasible or practical cure for skin cancer in wild fish populations," Sweet told the Scientific American.