Study offers insights into origins of contaminants found in San Diego Bay fish tissue

Posted May 9, 2020

SCCWRP and its partners have completed a two-year study shedding light on what portion of the legacy contaminants found in fish tissue in San Diego Bay is coming from contaminated bay sediment.

The study, published as a SCCWRP technical report in March, found that contaminant levels in the water column were strongly associated with contaminant levels in nearby sediment. Furthermore, contaminant concentrations in sediment correlated with concentrations in the tissues of some fish species.

Field data collected during the study also helped researchers evaluate the performance of bioaccumulation models co-developed by SCCWRP that predict how contaminants in sediment can diffuse back into the water column and enter marine food webs. These bioaccumulation models form the technical foundation for California’s Human Health Sediment Quality Objective, a regulatory target designed to protect the health of humans who consume seafood caught in enclosed bays and estuaries statewide.

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