Research into levels of heavy metals in the marine environment [Mer du Nord]

Last updated on 21-3-2019 by Sébastien Daems
January 1, 1972
Project with no end date

Service(s) working on this project

Sciensano's project investigator(s):

Partners

Bavo De Witte
Johan Robbens
Koen Parmentier

In short

Since the early 1970s, in most countries with fishing interests, various contaminants of marine organisms and sediments have been mapped out. This monitoring can contribute to the prevention or elimination of the pollution of the marine environment and thus protect human health. In this context, Sciensano’s Trace Elements and Nanomaterials service and the Aquatic Environment and Quality Unit of the Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) have been collaborating for more than 40 years on the analysis of marine sediments and organisms.

Project summary

Sciensano’s Trace Elements and Nanomaterials Department and the Aquatic Environment and Quality Unit of the Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) have been collaborating for more than 40 years on the analysis of marine sediments and biota. Within this historical cooperation, each of these partners carries out analyses under the “Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic” or, in short, the OSPAR Convention, as signed and ratified by Belgium. The main objectives of the Convention are to prevent and eliminate pollution of the marine environment and to protect the maritime area from the adverse effects of human activities in order to protect human health and conserve the marine ecosystem. The analyses were also included in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, MSFD, 2008/56/EC. These are analyses of trace elements (Sciensano) as well as PCBs, OCPs and PAHs (ILVO) in marine organisms. A third partner involved in these OSPAR analyses is the Directorate Natural Environment of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (KBIN/OD Nature) (PAHs, PBDE and organotin). The data from the three institutes will be transmitted to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), which is responsible for managing the data from the OSPAR monitoring campaign. In addition, within the framework of other projects, the Trace Elements and Nanomaterials Department also carries out analyses of trace elements in marine sediments and organisms on behalf of ILVO e.g.  the BAGGER project (“Dredging Deposits in the Sea: Chemical Monitoring for Dredged Material off the Flemish Coast”) and the 4DEMON project (“Four Decades of Monitoring”).

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