Hundreds of species of fish are ingesting microplastics. Data gathered from multiple studies has shown that a total of 386 marine fish species have ingested microplastics, with 210 species that are commercially important.
With time, microplastics can end up in the muscle tissue of the fish, which is consumed by humans. Other marine life that consume fish were more likely to ingest microplastics as well.
In the last decade alone, the proportion of fish consuming plastic has doubled across all species. Studies published from 2010-2013 found that an average of 15% of the fish sampled contained plastic; in studies published from 2017-2019, that share rose to 33%.
The first report of plastics being ingested by wildlife came in 1969 when they found plastic in the stomach of a sea bird. Today, the number of microplastics that we find in wildlife continues to increase. This is likely due to improvement in technology that detects microplastics, and of course an increase in microplastics in the environment.