Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 7578
Title: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and flatfish health in the marine ecosystem in Kitimat, British Columbia
Author: Lyndal L. Johnson, G. M. Ylitalo, B. F. Anulacion, J. Buzitis, T. K. Collier
Publication Year: 2015
Journal: Science of the Total Environment
Volume: 512
Pages: 227-239
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.01.017
Keywords: english sole,PAHs,aluminum smelter,liver lesions,

From 2000-2000 a monitoring study was conducted to evauate the imapcts of aluminum smelter-dirved polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on the health of Engllish sole (Paryophrys vetulue) in the marine waters of Kitimat, British Columbia, Canada.  These water are part of the historical fishing grounds of the Haisla First Nation.   Since the 1950s the Alcan Parimary Metal Company has operated an aluminum smleter at the head of Kitimat Arm.  As a results, adjacent sediments have been severely contaminated with  PAHs at concentrations in th range of 10,000-100,000 ng/g dry wt.  These concentrations are above those showen to cause adverse effects in fish exposed to PAHs in urban estuaries, but it was uncertain whether comparable effects would be seen at the Kitimat site due to limited bioavailability of smelter-derived PAHs.  Our study results showed significant intersite differences in concentrations of PAHs in sediments.  Sole collected at sites nearest the smleter showed increased PAH expsoure, as well as significantly higher prevalences of PAH-associated liver diesase, comapred to sites more distant from the smelter.  However, PAH exposure and bioloigical effects in Kitimat English sole were relatively lower when compared to English sole from urban sites contamianted with PAH mixtures from other sources. These findings indicate that while smelter-associated PAHs In Kitimat Arm appear to be causing some injury to marine resources, they likely have reduced bioavailability, and so reduced biological toxicity, compared to other environmental PAH mixtures.