Heavy Metal Levels in Fish from Coastal Waters of Uruguay

  • F VianaEmail author
  • R Huertas
  • E Danulat


Copper, mercury, and zinc levels were determined in muscle and liver (N = 163) of seven fish species caught in coastal waters off Montevideo and Piriápolis (control site): Odontesthes spp., Mugil platanus, Micropogonias furnieri, Urophycis brasiliensis, Cynoscion guatucupa, Menticirrhus americanus, and Mustelus schmitti. The local population commonly uses these species for consumption. Heavy metal concentrations determined in this study were generally below those obtained for fish caught in Argentinean and Brazilian coastal waters, with some exceptions in the case of mercury and zinc. Based on copper, mercury, and zinc levels in muscle tissue, we conclude that the fish studied here are acceptable for human consumption. Nevertheless, it is recommended not to consume the fish liver (up to 466 μg Zn g−1 dry weight in liver) nor large specimens of the investigated species. Regional programs involving the neighboring countries should be established to assess the fisheries resources and potential risks for human health.


Heavy Metal Concentration Control Site Metal Level Fish Tissue Bony Fish 
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The authors thank the fishers for their generous donations of samples, especially Alfredo Hargain from Piriápolis. Heavy metal analyses were done in the laboratory facilities of the Dirección Nacional de Medio Ambiente (DINAMA). Gustavo Saona provided valuable assistance in statistical analysis. This study was partly funded by a grant of the Programa de Desarrollo de las Ciencias Básicas (PEDECIBA, Facultad de Ciencias). Results constitute part of the first authors’ M.Sc. dissertation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sección Oceanología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de la RepúblicaUruguay
  2. 2.Departamento de Normalización TécnicaDirección Nacional de Medio AmbienteUruguay
  3. 3.Department of Marine Research & ConservationCharles Darwin FoundationSanta Cruz IslandEcuador

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