Temporal trends and spatial variations in persistent organic pollutants and metals in sea-run char from the Canadian Arctic

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: contaminants, bioaccumulation, traditional food, wildlife, marine animals, arctic char

Principal Investigator: Evans, Marlene S (39)
Licence Number: 14233
Organization: Environment Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2007 2006
Issued: Aug 16, 2007
Project Team: Derek Muir (Environment Canada), Jonathan Keating (Environment Canada)

Objective(s): This study is designed to determine what the levels of contaminants are in char when these fish return from feeding in the ocean in the summer.

Project Description: This study is designed to determine what the levels of contaminants are in char when these fish return from feeding in the ocean in the summer.

This is the fourth year of a study investigating the contaminant levels in sea-run Arctic char as they return from feeding in the ocean. The reason this study is being conducted is to provide communities with more information on the chemical levels in these fish. The researchers expect these levels to be low. Communities are being advised to eat more char relative to seal, beluga, and walrus in order to reduce the amount of contaminants they consume. By making these chemical measurements in char and comparing them with chemical levels in marine mammals, the researchers will be able to help demonstrate why char are such a good food choice. The study will focus on chemicals such as PCBs, DDT, and toxaphene, and metals such as mercury. However, data will also be generated on new compounds of concerns such as brominated flame retardants and on a broad suite of 31 other metals.
In previous years (2004-2006) the researchers collected char from Paulatuk, Holman, Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, Iqaluit, Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet, Resolute, Cape Dorset, Arviat, Sanikiluaq, Igloolik, Nain and Kangiqsualujjuaq. In 2007, with NCP funding, they propose to add to their spatial coverage by investigating contaminant levels in char at Hall Beach and Kangirsuk. In addition, they plan to collect char again from Pond Inlet, Cambridge Bay, Nain and Paulatuk, communities which they have chosen as sites for annual temporal monitoring.
Methodology:
- 20 Arctic char will be collected from the Paulatuk area by community members.
- Fishing location will be selected by the local HTC.
- All fish will be collected during normal subsistence fishing activities.

Fish or fish parts will be shipped by community members to the researchers.

Communication of results will be through reports and possible community visits.

Fieldwork will be conducted from August 16 to September 30, 2007 in the Paulatuk region.