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.
anadromous fish (char), tributyl tin and other butyl tins
Hudson Strait, Ungava Bay, Northern coast of Labrador
Samples are stored in chest freezers (-25C) at National Water Research Institute
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.
Both laboratories (NLET/NWRI) and Kuujjuaq Research Centre participate in the Canadian NCP QA program.
Northern Contaminants Program, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
All collections are made my local people in each community. Hunter knowledge and experience is essential for the project especially for ringed seal colleciton