Testing Toxin Levels in Local Seafood

Cooked shrimp

Researchers found that local shrimp were low in mercury. Photo by E-Ching Lee.

North Carolina Sea Grant-supported researchers — scientists from Duke University and North Carolina State University in collaboration with local fishermen — worked on a pair of studies that determined the mercury and PCB content in several popular inshore and offshore species.

NC State researchers sampled common recreational species, such as mahimahi, tilefish and triggerfish for their mercury content. The Duke team evaluated crabs, shrimp, oysters, clams, spot and mullet for mercury and PCBs.

Differences in mercury and PCB content varied by water body. The variability suggests that recommendations should be made locally, rather than regionally or nationally.