Contaminant exposure in outmigrant juvenile salmon from Pacific Northwest estuaries of the United States
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To better understand the dynamics of contaminant uptake in outmigrant juvenile salmon in the Pacific Northwest, concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDTs, polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and organochlorine pesticides were measured in tissues and prey of juvenile chinook and coho salmon from several estuaries and hatcheries in the US Pacific Northwest. PCBs, DDTs, and PAHs were found in tissues (whole bodies or bile) and stomach contents of chinook and coho salmon sampled from all estuaries, as well as in chinook salmon from hatcheries. Organochlorine pesticides were detected less frequently. Of the two species sampled, chinook salmon had the highest whole body contaminant concentrations, typically 2--5 times higher than coho salmon from the same sites. In comparison to estuarine chinook salmon, body burdens of PCBs and DDTs in hatchery chinook were relatively high, in part because of the high lipid content of the hatchery fish. Concentrations of PCBs were highest in chinook salmon from the Duwamish Estuary, the Columbia River and Yaquina Bay, exceeding the NOAA Fisheries' estimated threshold for adverse health effects of 2400 ng/g lipid. Concentrations of DDTs were especially high in juvenile chinook salmon from the Columbia River and Nisqually Estuary; concentrations of PAH metabolites in bile were highest in chinook salmon from the Duwamish Estuary and Grays Harbor. Juvenile chinook salmon are likely absorbing some contaminants during estuarine residence through their prey, as PCBs, PAHs, and DDTs were consistently present in stomach contents, at concentrations significantly correlated with contaminant body burdens in fish from the same sites.
KeywordsChinook salmon Coho salmon Contaminants PAHs PCBs DDTs Pesticides Washington Oregon Estuary
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