Arsenic and mercury concentrations in marine fish sourced from local fishermen and fish markets in mine-impacted communities in Ratatotok Sub-district, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

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Abstract

Mesel gold mine, Ratatotok Sub-district, North Sulawesi, Indonesia deposited about 4.5 million m3 of detoxified tailings containing arsenic (As) and mercury (Hg) via a submarine pipeline into Buyat Bay. As and Hg analysis of 216 fish muscle tissue composites from subsistence fishermen, local markets and a reference market confirmed that mean As levels were comparable between locations (range 1.71 to 2.12 mg/kg wet weight (ww)) and < 10% of the Australia New Zealand standard. Mean Hg concentrations were highest for the artisanal fishermen group (0.23 mg/kg ww), similar between the local markets (0.11–0.14 mg/kg ww) and lower at the reference market (0.04 mg/kg ww). A 12-month fish availability study identified that the results were due to the different coral and deep ocean species assemblages. All mean values were < 50% of the FAO/WHO/Codex standard for Hg. The results confirmed that there was no contamination from the deposited submarine tailings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume120
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Arsenic
  • Fish
  • Health effects
  • Mercury
  • Pollution
  • Submarine tailings disposal

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