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Task 1: Whole-body concentrations of elements in kelp bass (Paralabrax clathratus), kelp rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens), and Pacific sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus) from offshore oil platforms and natural areas in the Southern California Bight

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Abstract

Resource managers are concerned that offshore oil platforms in the Southern California Bight may be contributing to environmental contaminants accumulated by marine fishes. To examine this possibility, 18 kelp bass (Paralabrax clathratus), 80 kelp rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens), and 98 Pacific sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus) were collected from five offshore oil platforms and 10 natural areas during 2005-2006 for whole-body analysis of 63 elements. The natural areas, which served as reference sites, were assumed to be relatively uninfluenced by contaminants originating from platforms. Forty-two elements were excluded from statistical comparisons for one of three reasons: they consisted of major cations that were unlikely to accumulate to potentially toxic concentrations under ambient exposure conditions; they were not detected by the analytical procedures; or they were detected at concentrations too low to yield reliable quantitative measurements. The remaining 21 elements consisted of aluminum, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, gallium, iron, lead, lithium, manganese, mercury, nickel, rubidium, selenium, strontium, tin, titanium, vanadium, and zinc. Statistical comparisons of these 21 elements indicated that none consistently exhibited higher concentrations at oil platforms than at natural areas. Eight comparisons yielded significant interaction effects between total length (TL) of the fish and the two habitat types (oil platforms and natural areas). This indicated that relations between certain elemental concentrations (i.e., copper, rubidium, selenium, tin, titanium, and vanadium) and habitat type varied by TL of affected fish species. To better understand these interactions, we examined elemental concentrations in very small and very large individuals of affected species. Although significant interactions were detected for rubidium, tin, and selenium in kelp rockfish, the concentrations of these elements did not differ significantly between oil platforms and natural areas over the TL range of sampled fish. However, for selenium, titanium, and vanadium in Pacific sanddab, small individuals (average TL, 13.0 cm) exhibited significantly lower concentrations at oil platforms than at natural areas, whereas large individuals (average TL, 27.5 cm) exhibited higher concentrations at oil platforms than at natural areas. For copper in Pacific sanddab, small individuals did not exhibit differences between oil platforms and natural areas, whereas large individuals exhibited significantly higher concentrations at oil platforms than at natural areas. On the other hand, for tin in Pacific sanddab, small individuals did not exhibit differences between oil platforms and natural areas, whereas large individuals exhibited significantly lower concentrations at oil platforms than at natural areas. Although concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, and selenium in fishes from some platforms and natural areas equaled or exceeded literature-based toxicity thresholds for fish and fish-eating wildlife, studies are still needed to document evidence of toxicity from these elements. When estimates of elemental concentrations in skinless fillets were compared to risk-based consumption limits for humans, the concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and tin in fish from a mix of oil platforms and natural areas were sufficiently elevated to suggest a need for further study of inorganic arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and tributyltin.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
Other Government Series
Title:
Task 1: Whole-body concentrations of elements in kelp bass (Paralabrax clathratus), kelp rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens), and Pacific sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus) from offshore oil platforms and natural areas in the Southern California Bight
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Publisher:
Minerals Management Service, Pacific OCS Region
Contributing office(s):
Western Fisheries Research Center
Description:
32 p.
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Title:
Reproductive ecology and body burden of resident fish prior to decomissioning
First page:
1
Last page:
32
Public Comments:
OCS Study; MMS 2009-019
Country:
United States
State:
California
Other Geospatial:
Southern California