Kiwis could be consuming plastic by eating fish - study

New research has found humans could be consuming plastic by eating fish.

The study revealed tiny plastic particles usually found in fish guts can move into other parts of their body. 

New Zealand's deep blue sea is home to dozens of popular species of fish but below the surface, it's also plagued with plastic, the study highlighting just how problematic that is. 

Researcher Veronica Rotman says they found "a lot more" plastic "than expected." 

Researchers wanted to see how this plastic impacts sea life and the lab-based study of snapper has revealed what can happen when fish are consuming plastic.

"It was concerning to see a small number of microplastics could make their way from inside the gut into the muscular tissue on average one microplastic per fish," Rotman says.

It poses the question... could humans consume plastic by eating fish? 

Experts say it's too early to tell. 

"It does present itself as a potential transfer of plastics from our food items into humans," says Olga Pantos from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR).

"There's still a huge amount we don't know or understand about this."

Trillions of microplastics are floating around the world's oceans and are created when larger plastic objects like drink bottles and food containers break down. 

This latest research also found a quarter of sampled fish from Auckland's Hauraki Gulf had microplastics in their guts. 

Programme director at Greenpeace Niamh O'Flynn says the finding is "next level.

"We know that plastics is a problem when we see plastics literally choking wildlife out in the ocean but knowing that it's getting into the food chain is next level."

Kiwis are being urged to play their part and help make change, Rotman explaining lots of different industries and consumers alike need to be aware of microplastics. 

"From government to industry, fashion industry to consumers themselves there's a bunch of different ways that you can reduce the amount of microfibres that can make their way into the environment." 

And into our food chain.