Targeted risk assessment of mercury exposure of recreational fishers: Are nephrops fishers in Norway at risk?
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research. 2021, 28, 50316-50328. 10.1007/s11356-021-14093-0
Recreational fishers often consume their catch, which may expose them to environmental contaminants. However, targeted risk assessment for exceeding the tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of a specific contaminant is often lacking, as specific data on the extent of fishing, consumption rates, and contamination of the caught seafood is needed. This study examined recreational fishing for nephrops (Nephrops norvegicus) at several different locations in Western Norway to identify important risk factors. The combination of a field survey to examine actual catches, interviews of recreational fishers about their seafood eating habits, and the analysis of total mercury (Hg, as a proxy for methylmercury (MeHg)) in recreationally captured nephrops allowed to conduct a targeted risk assessment. Recreational fishers consumed on average seven nephrops per meal, and 73% of the fishers ate nephrops once a month or more. The average Hg concentrations in nephrops were below the legal maximum level (100 ± 50 μg/kg wet weight (mean ± SD)). Hg concentrations in female nephrops were significantly higher than in males at the same size, and differed significantly between locations. The recreational fishers in this study were not at risk of exceeding the TWI for MeHg from consuming nephrops only; however, there is a general risk of exceeding TWI for MeHg as 70% of the fishers reported a frequent consumption of fish for dinner. Targeted risk assessments on recreational fishers may reveal particularly vulnerable populations where national dietary surveys may miss the highest seafood consumers.