Mackerel Parasite

Nature (June 1884)

[199] There has been considerable alarm recently with reference to the parasites in that useful and plentiful fish, mackerel; so much so that Prof. Huxley has thought it advisable to write a letter to Mr. J. L. Sayer of Lower Thames Street, showing that any such alarm is unnecessary:–"It is perfectly true," he writes, "that mackerel, like all other fish, are more or less infested by parasites, one of which, a small thread-worm, is often so abundant as to be conspicuous when the fish is opened. But it is not true that there is any reason to believe that this thread-worm would be injurious to a man, even if he swallowed it uncooked and alive, and to speak of it as a possible cause of cholera is sheer nonsense. I have no doubt that the 'excessive use of mackerel and mild ale,' whether separately or in combination,would be followed by unpleasant results, not only at this season of the year but at any other. It is very much to be regretted that the food-supply of the people should be diminished, and that the fishing population should be robbed of the fruit of their labours by the authoritative propagation of statements which are devoid of foundation; and if you think the publication of this letter will be of any use to the public and to the fishing interest, it is at your service."


C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University