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Water Management Associations
Pollution in Hackensack River Sediment Alters Eating Habits of Crabs and Fish
While the Hackensack River may be getting cleaner, the toxic chemicals are laced through the riverbed and are working their way up the food chain and still pose a serious health risk to anyone who may try to eat crabs or fish caught in those waters.
For decades, mercury and PCB’s from multiple sites have spread throughout the tidal river system and into the surrounding marshland. The contaminants bond to the sediment, where they can be absorbed or ingested by plankton and small worms. Those creatures are eaten by larger species and then consumed by crabs and young bluefish.

The contaminants, concentrated in the crab’s muscle tissue, affect their ability to catch prey. The crabs lacked muscle coordination to catch regular prey so they survive on a diet of mud and fiddler crabs, which are much slower. The contaminants also affect the bluefish population as well. Many baby bluefish went hungry as they were unable to catch they normal prey.

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