Title: Declining Mercury Concentrations in Bluefin Tuna Reflect Reduced Emissions to the North Atlantic Ocean.
Authors: Lee, Cheng-Shiuan; Lutcavage, Molly E; Chandler, Emily; Madigan, Daniel J; Cerrato, Robert M; Fisher, Nicholas S
Published In Environ Sci Technol, (2016 Dec 06)
Abstract: Tunas are apex predators in marine food webs that can accumulate mercury (Hg) to high concentrations and provide more Hg (∼40%) to the U.S population than any other source. We measured Hg concentrations in 1292 Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT, Thunnus thynnus) captured in the Northwest Atlantic from 2004 to 2012. ABFT Hg concentrations and variability increased nonlinearly with length, weight, and age, ranging from 0.25 to 3.15 mg kg-1, and declined significantly at a rate of 0.018 ± 0.003 mg kg-1 per year or 19% over an 8-year period from the 1990s to the early 2000s. Notably, this decrease parallels comparably reduced anthropogenic Hg emission rates in North America and North Atlantic atmospheric Hg0 concentrations during this period, suggesting that recent efforts to decrease atmospheric Hg loading have rapidly propagated up marine food webs to a commercially important species. This is the first evidence to suggest that emission reduction efforts have resulted in lower Hg concentrations in large, long-lived fish.
PubMed ID: 27934271
MeSH Terms: Animals; Atlantic Ocean; Fishes; Mercury*; North America; Tuna*