Home > Explore Data & Reports > Contaminants in Marine Resources of Vieques, Puerto Rico


Whitall, D.R., A.L. Mason, M. Fulton, E. Wirth, D. Wehner, A. Ramos-Alvarez, A.S. Pait, B. West, E. Pisarski, B. Shaddrix, and L. Reed. 2016. Contaminants in Marine Resources of Vieques, Puerto Rico. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 223. Silver Spring, MD. 70 pp. http://dx.doi.org/10.7289/V5/TM-NOS-NCCOS-223

Data/Report Type:

NOAA Technical Memorandum


Pollution in the marine environment has the potential to negatively impact ecosystem health, including adverse effects on fisheries species. This can occur through direct impacts, food web effects and habitat degradation. Vieques is an island municipality of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, located 11 km off the east coast of the main island. In addition to normal pollution stressors associated with human activities, Vieques was also the site of a military bombing range from the 1940s until 2003. Local concern exists about potential impacts of pollution from these and other activities on fisheries stocks, as well as potential seafood safety issues. In this study, queen conch (Strombus gigas) and spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) tissues were analyzed for a suite of contaminants: metals, the pesticide DDT (and its degradation products), and energetic compounds (associated with munitions) from three areas around the island. Concentrations of pollutants in queen conch were compared to other published values for the region, and compared with conservative seafood safety guidelines.

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