Contaminants in Seafood

Copyright Marine Institute/ Marine Institute/ Marine Institute/ Marine Institute/ Photographer Andrew Downes.

Fish and shellfish can accumulate chemical contaminants in their tissues. Some contaminants can be naturally occurring, such as heavy metals and hydrocarbons. Others are a result of anthropogenic discharges, spills and atmospheric emissions of pollutants such as pesticides, PCBs, flame retardants and also heavy metals and hydrocarbons.

We monitor shellfish, farmed finfish and fish landed at Irish ports to ensure concentrations of environmental contaminants do not pose a risk to human health, and do not exceed maximum levels set out in various EU Directives. Shellfish from designated areas are tested annually for contaminants under the Shellfish Waters Directive (SWD). With the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), we also carry out monitoring of several veterinary residues and other substances in farmed fish.


Our current research areas into contaminants in seafood include:

• Chemical substances in seafood and the risks to consumers

• New analytical methodologies for chemical analysis of pollutants and residues

Visit our project page for details of current and past research projects.

Visit Seafood Safety for more information.

Contact us for further information.

Marine Chemistry Research ProjectsMarine Chemistry Publications