There is concern that offshore oil platforms off Southern California may be contributing to environmental contaminants accumulated by marine fishes. To examine this possibility, 18 kelp bass (Paralabrax clathratus Girard, 1854), 80 kelp rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens Jordan and Gilbert, 1880), and 98 Pacific sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus Girard, 1854) were collected from five offshore oil platforms and 10 natural areas during 2005–2006 for whole-body analysis of 63
elements. Forty-two elements were excluded from statistical comparisons as they (1) consisted of major cations that were unlikely to accumulate to potentially toxic concentrations; (2) were not detected by the analytical procedures; or (3) 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 elements indicated that none consistently exhibited higher concentrations at oil platforms than at natural areas. However, the concentrations of copper, selenium, titanium, and vanadium in Pacific sanddab were unusual because small individuals exhibited either no differences between oil platforms and natural areas or significantly lower concentrations at oil platforms than at natural areas, whereas large individuals exhibited significantly higher concentrations at oil platforms than at natural areas.