The influence of mariculture on mercury distribution in sediments and fish around Hong Kong and adjacent mainland China waters

Peng Liang, Ding Ding Shao, Sheng Chun Wu, Jian Bo Shi, Xiao lin Sun, Fu Yong Wu, Chun Lap Samuel Lo, Wen Xiong Wang, Ming H. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


To study the influence of mariculture on mercury (Hg) speciation and distribution in sediments and cultured fish around Hong Kong and adjacent mainland China waters, sediment samples were collected from six mariculture sites and the corresponding reference sites, 200-300m away from the mariculture sites. Mariculture activities increased total mercury, organic matter, carbon, nitrogen and sulfur concentrations in the surface sediments underneath mariculture sites, possibly due to the accumulation of unconsumed fish feed and fish excretion. However, methylmercury (MeHg) concentrations and the ratio of MeHg to THg (% MeHg) in sediments underneath mariculture sites were lower than the corresponding reference sites. The % MeHg in sediments was negatively correlated (r=-0.579, p<0.05) with organic matter (OM) content among all sites, indicating that OM may have inhibited Hg methylation in surface sediments. Three mariculture fish species were collected from each mariculture site, including red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus), orange-spotted grouper (Epinephelus coioides) and snubnose pompano (Trachinotus blochii). The average MeHg concentration in fish muscle was 75μgkg-1(wet weight), and the dietary intake of MeHg through fish consumption for Hong Kong residents was 0.37μgkg-1week-1, which was lower than the corresponding WHO limits (500μgkg-1and 1.6μgkg-1week-1).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1038-1043
Number of pages6
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011


  • Cultured fish
  • Fish feed
  • Mariculture
  • Methylmercury
  • Sediment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)

Cite this