Methylmercury Concentration in Shark Muscle by Species, Size and Distribution of Sharks in Florida Coastal Waters



The concentrations of methylmercury (MeHg) in 124 samples of muscle taken from nine species of common sharks of varying sizes and locations along the Florida coast were determined. Muscle MeHg levels averaged 0.88 μg/g (wet sample basis) and ranged from 0.06 to 2.87 μg/g, with 33.1% of the samples exceeding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 1 μg/g action level. Differences were found in MeHg concentration by species but not by sex. A positive correlation between MeHg levels and shark size was found such that most sharks larger than approximately 200 cm total length contained MeHg concentrations exceeding the 1 μg/g action level. Fetal sharks contained consistently lower MeHg levels than their mothers. Sharks collected off southern regions of the state contained significantly higher MeHg concentrations than those off the northeast coast. The human health concerns for consumers of Florida shark meat are discussed in relation to these findings.


MeHg Concentration Shark Species National Marine Fishery Service Sandbar Shark Methylmercury Concentration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC): 1990, Official Methods of Analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists 1, 268–269.Google Scholar
  2. Dunn, O.J.: 1964, Technometrics 6, 241–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (FDHRS): 1991, HRS and Department of Agriculture Health Advisory for Marine Fish, May 13, 1991, 3 pages.Google Scholar
  4. Forrester, C.R., Ketchen, K.S. and Wong, C.C.: 1972, J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 29, 1487–1490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Leah, R., Evans, S. and Johnson, M.: 1991, Sci. Total Environ. 108, 215–224.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Marcovecchio, J.E., Moreno, V.J. and Pérez, A.: 1991, Marine Environ. Res. 31, 263–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS): 1993, Fishery Management Plan for Sharks of the Atlantic Ocean, U.S. Dept. Commerce, NOAA/NMFS, 167 pages.Google Scholar
  8. Sokal, R.R. and Rohlf, F.J.: 1981, Biometry, 859 pages.Google Scholar
  9. Walker, T.I.: 1976, Aust. J. Mar. Freshwater Res. 27, 603–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mote Marine LaboratoryCenter for Shark ResearchSarasotaUSA
  2. 2.Chemical Residue LaboratoryFlorida Department of Agriculture and Consumer ServicesTallahasseeUSA
  3. 3.Florida Department of Environmental ProtectionFlorida Marine Research InstituteSt. PetersburgUSA

Personalised recommendations