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|Cod, Contaminants, and Collaboration: The Ecotoxicology of Burbot in Interior Alaska
|Presenting Author Name
|Presenting Author Affiliation
|AFS Alaska Chapter and Student Subunit
|Presenting Author Email
|Presenting Author Social Media Handles
|freshwater, ecotoxicology, stable isotope analysis
|Type of Presentation
Consumption of fishes has many health benefits, but exposure to contaminants in fish tissue can be a human health concern. Burbot (Lota lota) are the only freshwater cod species and are harvested for consumption across its Holarctic range. Burbot are relatively long-lived and highly piscivorous, which are characteristics that contribute to the bioaccumulation of contaminants. The Tanana River supports the largest recreational Burbot fishery in Alaska, yet information on the potential risks of human consumption of Burbot is lacking. The goal of this study is to quantify the bioaccumulation of mercury in Burbot tissues to understand mercury concentration in relation to size, age, tissue type, and feeding ecology. Fifty samples were collected by Alaska Chapter AFS Student Subunit members throughout the Tanana River drainage in 2018-2019. A preliminary analysis (n=11) has revealed a mean total mercury concentration of 384 ± 140 ppb in muscle tissue, a relatively high value in comparison to other freshwater fishes in Alaska. These preliminary results indicate the necessity to test for methylmercury concentration. Our study represents the first analysis of mercury accumulation in Burbot for the Tanana River drainage. Results will be shared with the Alaska Fish Tissue Monitoring program and compared with Alaska and Federal consumption guidelines. Most importantly, the results from this study will be shared with the surrounding communities to increase consumer awareness for evaluating the health trade-offs associated with consumption of Burbot from the Tanana River drainage.