By R. M. Stagg, C. Robinson, A. M. Mcintosh, C. F. Moffat, D. W. Bruno
Marine Environmental Research, Volume 46, Issues 1-5, Pollutant Responses in Marine Organisms, July-December 1998, Pages 301-306, ISSN 0141-1136, DOI: 10.1016/S0141-1136(98)00014-2.

This paper describes the response of two fish species, the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and the common dab (Limanda limanda) to the oil spilled from the Braer tanker which grounded on the southern tip of Shetland, Scotland, on 5 January 1993. Both the immediate sublethal effects and the long-term response to the oil which accumulated in sediments around the Shetland Isles, Scotland, are examined. The primary response measured was the induction of detoxification enzymes and the relationship of the levels or activities of these enzymes to the concentration and distribution of aromatic hydrocarbons measured in sediments, water and fish. The results show that, immediately following the spill, there was a marked induction of Cytochrome P4501A enzymes in salmon, indicative of exposure to bioavailable aromatics. In dab there was evidence of induction at some sites in January 1993 immediately following the spill but, subsequently, no induction has been observed in fish caught in the vicinity of Shetland despite the very high concentrations of oil measured in sediments at some locations. This would indicate that the polyaromatic hydrocarbons in these sediments are unlikely to be directly bioavailable to fish. The effect of the oil spill on hepatic pathology in dab was investigated and shows that pathology predictive of neoplasia, such as basophilic foci and vacuolation, were observed in fish from the most contaminated sites in 1994 but not in 1993. The incidence of this pathology appeared to correlate with the degree of contamination at the sites, but additional studies are required to establish whether this was a consequence of the initial impact and exposure from waterborne oil at the time of the spill or whether it was due to the continued exposure to oil from the sediments.

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