Industrial activities conducted in Northern Canada have raised concerns among Indigenous communities regarding wildlife contamination and potential consequences for human health. Therefore, an investigation on the chemical (metals/metalloids) and biological (parasite) burden of adult walleye (Sandervitreus) and northern pike (Esoxlucius) from Montreal Lake, Saskatchewan, was conducted to assess health risks related to fish consumption. Dissection revealed that both fishes displayed typical parasite communities, with Eubothrium sp. (Cestoda) and Raphidascarisacus (Nematoda) occurring the most frequently. None of the identified parasite species were infectious to humans. Concentrations of most inorganic contaminants in fish muscle were low and both walleye and pike can be considered healthy components of a balanced diet. However, due to slightly elevated mercury concentrations, excessive daily consumption of these fishes is not recommended, as mercury exposure over time may lead to adverse health effects.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Anonymous (2009) Fish stock assessment: Montreal Lake. Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, Regina
Blanar CA, Munkittrick KR, Houlahan J et al (2009) Pollution and parasitism in aquatic animals: a meta-analysis of effect size. Aquat Toxicol 93:18–28
Bush AO, Lafferty KD, Lotz JM et al (1997) Parasitology meets ecology on its own terms: Margolis et al. revisited. J Parasit 83:575–583
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) (2011) Fish products standards and methods manual, Appendix 3. Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ottawa
Chubb JC (1982) Seasonal occurrence of helminths in freshwater fishes. Part IV: adult Cestoda, Nematoda and Acanthocephala. Adv Parasitol 20:1–292
Crofton HD (1971) A quantitative approach to parasitism. Parasitology 62:179–193
Goode P, Champ J, Amundson L (1996) The Montreal Lake region: its history and geography. Sentar Consultants, Saskatoon
Health Canada (2004) Federal contaminated site risk assessment in Canada, Part II: Health Canada toxicological reference values (TRVs). Health Canada, Ottawa
Health Canada (2010) Federal contaminated site risk assessment in Canada, Part II: Health Canada Toxicological Reference Values (TRVs) and chemical-specific factors, version 2.0. Health Canada, Ottawa
Health Canada (2017) Federal contaminated site risk assessment in Canada: supplemental guidance on human health risk assessment of contaminated sediments: direct contact pathway. Health Canada, Ottawa
Himsworth CG, Jenkins E, Hill JE et al (2010) Emergence of sylvatic Echinococcus granulosus as a parasitic zoonosis of public health concern in an indigenous community in Canada. Am J Trop Med Hyg 82:643–645
Hotez PJ (2010) Neglected infections of poverty among the indigenous peoples of the Arctic. PLOS Negl Trop Dis 4:e606
Hudson PJ, Dobson AP, Lafferty KD (2006) Is a healthy ecosystem one that is rich in parasites? Trends Ecol Evol 21:381–385
Hursky O, Pietrock M (2012) Chemical contaminants and parasites: assessment of human health risks associated with consumption of whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) from two boreal lakes in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Sci Total Environ 424:97–103
Huseman J, Short D (2012) ‘A slow industrial genocide’: tar sands and the indigenous peoples of northern Alberta. Int J Hum Rights 16:216–237
Johnson MW (2001) Indicators (parasites and stable isotopes) of trophic status of yellow perch (Perca flavescens Mitchill) in nutrient poor Canadian Shield lakes. MSc thesis, University of Manitoba
Kelly JM, Janz DM (2009) Assessment of oxidative stress and histopathology in juvenile northern pike (Esox lucius) inhabiting lakes downstream of a uranium mill. Aquat Toxicol 92:240–249
Kelly EN, Schindler DW, Hodson PV et al (2010) Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations to the Athabasca River and its tributaries. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 107:16178–16183
Klavinš M, Rodinov V, Vereskūns G (1998) Metals and organochlorine compounds in fish from Latvian lakes. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 60:538–545
Lafferty KD (1997) Environmental parasitology: what can parasites tell us about human impacts on the environment? Parasitol Today 13:251–255
Leong TS, Holmes JC (1981) Communities of metazoan parasites in open water fishes of Cold Lake, Alberta. J Fish Biol 18:693–713
Muzzall PM, Whelan G (2011) Parasites of fish from the Great Lakes: a synopsis and review of the literature, 1871–2010. Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Ann Arbor
Nelson P, Krogman N, Johnston L et al (2015) Dead ducks and dirty oil: media representations and environmental solutions. Soc Nat Resour 28:345–359
Pintaeva ETs, Bazarsadueva SV, Radnaeva LD, et al (2011) Content and character of metal accumulation in fish of the Kichera River (a tributary of Lake Baikal). Contemp Probl Ecol 4:64–68
Poole BC, Dick TA (1985) Parasite recruitment by stocked walleye, Stizostedion vitreum vitreum (Mitchill), fry in a small boreal lake in central Canada. J Wildl Dis 21:371–376
Raine JC, Pietrock M, Willner K et al (2017) Parasitological analysis and gill histopathology of pearl dace (Semotilus margarita) and brook stickleback (Culaea inconstans) collected from the Athabasca oil sands area (Canada). Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 98:733–739
Schellenberg RS, Tan BJ, Irvine JD et al (2003) An outbreak of trichinellosis due to consumption of bear meat infected with Trichinella nativa in 2 Northern Saskatchewan communities. J Infect Dis 188:835–843
Schindler D (2010) Tar sands need solid science. Nature 468:499
Schurer JM, Ndao M, Skinner S et al (2013) Parasitic zoonoses: one health surveillance in northern Saskatchewan. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7:e2141
Stewart DB, Bernier LMJ (1999) Common parasites, diseases and injuries of freshwater fishes in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Tekin-Özan S, Kir I (2006) Concentrations of some heavy metals in organs of two fish species from the Beyşehir Lake, Turkey. Fresen Environ Bull 15:530–534
Timoney KP, Lee P (2009) Does the Alberta tar sands industry pollute? The scientific evidence. Open Conserv Biol J 3:65–81
Waite DT, Joshi SR, Sommerstad H et al (1990) A toxicological examination of whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) and northern pike (Esox lucius) exposed to uranium mine tailings. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 19:578–582
Watson RA, Dick TA (1980) Metazoan parasites of pike, Esox lucius Linnaeus, from Southern Indian lake, Manitoba, Canada. J Fish Biol 17:255–261
We would like to thank Tina Giroux (Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations) and Noland Henderson (Montreal Lake Cree Nation) for their project support. We also thank Dr. Xiaofeng Wang and Michael Kautzman for their help with the chemical analyses. Research was approved by the University of Saskatchewan's Animal Research Ethics Board (protocol # 20110079). Financial support came from the Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre (Grant # NIS 1101) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Grant # 371538–2009).
About this article
Cite this article
Matwee, L., Pietrock, M. Parasites and Metals in Walleye (Sander vitreus) and Northern Pike (Esox lucius) from Boreal Montreal Lake (Saskatchewan, Canada): Assessment of Human Health Risks. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 103, 240–245 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-019-02624-y
- Northern pike
- Boreal Plains
- Human health risks