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Parasites and Metals in Walleye (Sander vitreus) and Northern Pike (Esox lucius) from Boreal Montreal Lake (Saskatchewan, Canada): Assessment of Human Health Risks

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

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).

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Correspondence to M. Pietrock.

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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

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Keywords

  • Northern pike
  • Walleye
  • Boreal Plains
  • Parasites
  • Metals
  • Human health risks