Spatial trends and pathways of POPs and metals in fish, shellfish and marine mammals of northern Labrador and Nunavik

Updated 2000-08-06

The objectives of this study were to develop baseline data on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and metals, in freshwater and anadromous fish, shellfish, and marine mammals, important to Inuit communities of Northern Labrador and Nunavik in order to provide the same level of information that is available for other Canadian arctic regions. 1999-00 was the final year of the project. Successful collection of mussels (Mytilus edulis), arctic char (sea run), scallops and walrus samples were made in 1999. During 1998 major collections of ringed seal, sea run arctic char and blube mussels (Mytilus edulis) were made. Chemical analyses of POPs and metals in ringed seals and char collected in 1998-99 were completed in 1999-2000. Low concentrations of mercury, selenium and lead were found in samples of scallops from Labrador while cadmium and arsenic levels were much higher than the other elements, especially in gut samples. Arsenic was the most prominent of the five metals determined in mussels from Nunavik. Mercury levels were low (0.02-0.03 ug/g wet wt) in char from Labrador collected in 1999 similar to our previous observations in Labrador and Nunavik. Much higher levels of mercury and selenium were found in landlocked char (at Kangiqsujuaq) and than in all sea run char from widely separated sites Nunavik and Labrador. Mercury and selenium levels in seal liver did not differ among the 5 locations after adjustment for age of the animals. Percent organic mercury levels increased with age in seal muscle from about 80% in animals from 0-2 yrs to about 100% in adult animals. Mercury levels in walrus meat (muscle) were relatively low compared with liver and kidney. Levels of tributyl tin in char muscle ranged from <0.01 to 0.85 ng/g wet wt and highest levels were found in samples from Kangirsuk (Ungava Bay region). PCBs and other organochlorines were present at very low levels in mussels and arctic char from locations in Nunavik and Labrador. In general, levels of PCBs and SDDT in ringed seal blubber in this study were similar to levels found in ringed seal blubber at other eastern Arctic locations.

This is a National Implementation Plan (NIP) project

Time frame

Status
Completed
Project time span
1997 - 2000
Data collection
1997 - 1999
Data processing
1998 - 2000
Data reporting
1998 - 2000

Contact information

Contact person
Derek C.G. Muir
Address
National Water Research Institute Environment Canada 867 Lakeshore Road Burlington ON L7R4A6 Canada
Phone
+1 905-319-6921
Fax
+1 905-336-6430
Email
ac.wicc@rium.kered
Other project contacts
Michael Kwan, Kuujjuaq Research Centre, Kuujjuaq, PQ Phone: 819-964-2951 Joanna Lampe, Labrador Inuit Association, Nain NF; Phone: 709-922-2864

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Heavy metals
Other metals/elements
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Marine fish
Marine mammals
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

anadromous fish (char), tributyl tin and other butyl tins

Geography

Regions studied
Canada
Other areas
Canada, northern Quebec, Labrador,
Stations or areas where observations are made

Hudson Strait, Ungava Bay, Northern coast of Labrador

Data availability

Are data archived or planned to be archived at an AMAP Thematic Data Centre?
yes-partly
Data centres
Marine TDC
If no (or only part of data are reported to a TDC), where and how are (other) data stored?
Data are currently stored at NWRI and at Kuujjuaq Research Centre by the Principal Investigators
References to key publications (or planned publications) and data reports
Muir, D.C.G., M. Kwan and J. Lampe. Spatial Trends and Pathways of Pops and Metals in Fish, Shellfish and Marine Mammals of Northern Labrador and Nunavik. In: Synopsis of Research Conducted Under the 1999/00 Northern Contaminants Program, S. Kalhok (Ed). Ottawa: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Pp. .. (In press 2000). Muir, D., M. Kwan and J. Lampe. 1999. Spatial trends and pathways of POPs and metals in fish, shellfish and marine mammals of northern Labrador and Nunavik. Synopsis of Research Conducted Under the 1998/99 Northern Contaminants Program, Environmental Studies, Ottawa: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. pp. 165-171. Muir, D.C.G., J. Banoub and M. Kwan. 1998. Spatial trends and pathways of POPs and metals in fish, shellfish and marine mammals of northern Labrador, Nunavik and Nunavut. In: Synopsis of Research Conducted Under the 1997/98 Northern Contaminants Program, Environmental Studies No. 75. Ottawa: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. pp. 171-174.
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?
Yes
Specimen banking information

Samples are stored in chest freezers (-25C) at National Water Research Institute

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

Muir, D., M. Kwan and J. Lampe. 1999. Spatial trends and pathways of POPs and metals in fish, shellfish and marine mammals of northern Labrador and Nunavik. Synopsis of Research Conducted Under the 1998/99 Northern Contaminants Program, Environmental Studies, Ottawa: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. pp. 165-171. Muir, D.C.G., M.D. Segstro, K.A. Hobson, C.A. Ford, R.E.A. Stewart and S. Olpinski 1995. Can Elevated levels of PCBs and organochlorine pesticides in walrus blubber from eastern Hudson Bay (Canada) be explained by consumption of seals? Environ. Pollut. 90, 335-348. Muir, D.C.G., R.J. Norstrom and M. Simon. Organochlorine contaminants in arctic marine food chains: Accumulation of specific PCB and chlordane-related compounds. Environ. Sci. Technol. 22, 1071-1079, 1988.

QA/QC Information (what QA/QC procedures are implemented, laboratories involvment in QA/QC activities, model verification/validation routines, etc.)

Both laboratories (NLET/NWRI) and Kuujjuaq Research Centre participate in the Canadian NCP QA program.

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
No
Is this project reporting to other organizations/programmes?

Northern Contaminants Program, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indigenous AND traditional knowledge used in this project

All collections are made my local people in each community. Hunter knowledge and experience is essential for the project especially for ringed seal colleciton

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