Bioaccumulation of contaminants in recreational and forage fish in Newport Bay, California in 2000-2002

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Newport Bay is an important southern California estuary that is both a developed marina in its lower bay and an ecological reserve in the upper bay. Recreational anglers catch fish for consumption, particularly in the lower bay, and threatened bird species consume small forage fish in the upper bay. Although the ecology of the fish community has been studied, there are few studies of contamination in Newport Bay fishes, and none which provides broad recent information on contaminant levels in much of the fish fauna of the bay nor on potential risks to both human and wildlife predators of the fishes. The objectives of this study are to 1) provide recent data on the distribution and contaminant levels in Newport Bay fishes, 2) identify species that pose a potential health concern because they have contaminant concentrations above screening values (SVs) for human or wildlife consumption of fish, 3) identify what fish contaminants may warrant regulatory focus, and 4) identify species or ecological groups of fishes for possible future monitoring or experimentation.

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