Quality Assurance Project Plan: Toxic Contaminants in Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) and Spot Prawn (Pandalus platyceros) from Puget Sound, Washington, USA

Category: Fish/Shellfish Research

Published: September 2012

Pages: 88

Author(s): James E. West, Laurie Niewolny, Stephen Quinnell, Jennifer Lanksbury


The following study Toxic Contaminants in Dungeness Crab and Spot Prawn from Puget Sound is a broadscale, Puget Sound-wide assessment of toxic contaminants in Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) and spot prawn (Pandalus platyceros). This Quality Assurance Project Plan describes study objectives and operating procedures to be followed to achieve the goals of this study. The purposes of this study are to (a) evaluate the geographic extent and magnitude of toxic chemical contaminants in these two shellfish species in Puget Sound and (b) to provide contaminant data to DOH for them to conduct a human health risk assessment.

Geographic coverage of samples reflects the usual fishing grounds in Puget Sound for tribal and nontribal fisheries, for both Dungeness crab and spot prawns. Both species will be collected in WDFW Recreational Marine Areas (MAs) 6 through 13 and three urban embayments within MAs 10 and 11, Commencement Bay, Elliot Bay, and Sinclair Inlet. This sampling plan covers the entire extent of Puget Sound from Point Roberts in the north to Budd Bay in the south, and west to Port Angeles, including Hood Canal. Additional effort is focused on three urban areas of concern.

One objective is to represent each MA and embayment by sampling up to five replicate samples of crab and shrimp from discrete fishing locations (stations) using individuals taken from test fishery and trawl study efforts. Muscle tissue will be dissected from crab and shrimp, creating composites for each. Each species composite will represent a station. Each composite will be analyzed for the organic contaminants; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyls (PBDEs), chlorinated pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and the metals; mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium. A second objective is to characterize the contaminant load in other tissues that may be also be consumed by humans, namely hepatopancreas in Dungeness crab and the head and thorax (non-tail tissues) of spot prawn. This second objective will rely on analyzing a smaller set of samples, paired with muscle samples, to generate a predictive regression between the two tissue types.

At completion of the study, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)-Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program (PSEMP) will produce a final report to Ecology and a data report to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). The DOH will produce a human risk assessment. The PSEMP final report will be posted to the internet. All data will be submitted for uploading into STORET and EIM databases.