Thirty-six sediment samples were collected from six mariculture sites and corresponding reference sites (approximately 200–300 m away from each mariculture site) to study the effects of mariculture on heavy metal: copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), chromium (Cr) and lead (Pb) distribution in sediments and cultured fish around the Pearl River Delta region, south China. The mean concentrations of Cu, Zn, Cr and Pb in all mariculture sediment samples were 109, 273, 99 and 33 mg/kg, compared with 63, 209, 56 and 23 mg/kg for reference sediment samples, respectively. The Pollution Load Index of sediment for each site was over 1, implying substantial heavy metal pollution. The results of principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering analysis indicate that marine aquaculture activities have enriched the surface sediments underneath mariculture rafts with Cu, Zn and Pb, possibly due to the accumulation of unconsumed fish feeds, fish excreta and antifouling paints (except Cr). Two kinds of fish feeds, feed pellets and trash fish commonly used in Hong Kong were analyzed. The concentrations of Zn and Cu contained in feed pellets were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than in trash fish due to addition of these elements as growth promoters during pellet production. However, the Pb content in trash fish (due to contamination) was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than in feed pellets. Three cultured fish species, namely red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus), orange-spotted grouper (Epinephelus coioides) and snubnose pompano (Trachinotus blochii), were collected from each mariculture site for metal analysis. Lead concentrations in 21 fish samples exceeded the Chinese safety guideline (0.5 mg/kg, GB18406.4–2001), indicating that Pb contamination in cultured fish would be a public health concern. Copyright © 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
CitationLiang, P., Wu, S.-C., Zhang, J., Cao, Y., Yu, S., & Wong, M.-H. (2016). The effects of mariculture on heavy metal distribution in sediments and cultured fish around the Pearl River Delta region, south China. Chemosphere, 148, 171-177.
- Heavy metals
- Pearl River delta