The objective of this paper is to determine whether contaminant data on mussels and sediments can be used interchangeably, or not, when assessing the degree of anthropogenic contamination of a water body. To obtain adequate coverage of the entire Gulf of Maine, Bay of Fundy sediment samples were collected, analyzed and combined with similar data from four coastal monitoring programs. This required careful interpretation but provided robust results consistent with published literature. A strong correspondence was found between sediment
and mussel concentrations for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, moderate to weak correspondence for polychlorinated biphenyls, and except for mercury and zinc, little to no correspondence was found for metals. We conclude that mussel contaminant data are likely sufficient for providing information on the spatial and temporal distribution of chemical contaminants, in coastal waters, under a broad range of environmental conditions
and contaminant levels, and unlike sediments, provide direct information on contaminant bioavailability.