The paper describes the technical, procedural and biological aspects of 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) activity measurements in dab, Limanda limanda, from the North Sea. Several sources of measurement error in assays of EROD activity measurements for biological effects monitoring exercises could be defined, particularly for assay conditions, sample storage and sampling. In addition to variability caused by technical errors, biological features inherent in the surveyed fish may lead to even more severe errors in EROD activity measurements. This is particularly true of the choice of sampling time. Disregarding the species-specific spawning periods may lead to a loss of activity by a factor of as much as 90 in females and 40 in males, thus making it necessary to design sampling surveys appropriately.