Assessment of contaminant concentrations in sediments, fish and mussels sampled from the North Atlantic and European regional seas within the ICON project

Craig D. Robinson*, Lynda Webster, Concepción Martínez-Gómez, Thierry Burgeot, Matthew J. Gubbins, John E. Thain, A. Dick Vethaak, Alistair D. McIntosh, Ketil Hylland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Understanding the status of contaminants in the marine environment is a requirement of European Union Directives and the Regional Seas Conventions, so that measures to reduce pollution can be identified and their efficacy assessed. The international ICON workshop (Hylland et al., in this issue) was developed in order to test an integrated approach to assessing both contaminant concentrations and their effects. This paper describes and assesses the concentrations of trace metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and polychlorinated biphenyls in sediments, mussels, and fish collected from estuarine, coastal and offshore waters from Iceland to the Mediterranean Sea. For organic contaminants, concentrations progressively increased from Iceland, to the offshore North Sea, to the coastal seas, and were highest in estuaries. Metals had a more complex distribution, reflecting local anthropogenic inputs, natural sources and hydrological conditions. Use of internationally recognised assessment criteria indicated that at no site were concentrations of all contaminants at background and that concentrations of some contaminants were of significant concern in all areas, except the central North Sea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Volume124
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

Keywords

  • Baltic Sea
  • Environmental monitoring
  • ICES
  • Integrated assessment
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • North Atlantic
  • North Sea
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Trace metals

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