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Peterson, S.A., J. Van Sickle, R.M. Hughes, J. A. Schacher, and S. F. Echols. 2005. A biopsy procedure for determining filet and predicting whole-fish mercury concentration. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 48(1):99-107. WED 04-035

Although mercury contamination of fish is a widespread phenomenon, its regional evaluation is hindered by the reluctance of permitting agencies to grant collection permits, problems in securing adequate freezer space, and time to process whole, large fish or filets. We evaluated mercury concentrations in 210 filet biopsies from 65 sites in 12 western states relative to whole-body mercury concentration in the same fish. We found a highly significant relationship (r2 = 0.96) between biopsy arid whole-fish mercury concentrations for 13 piscivorous and nonpiscivorous fish species. We concluded that relative to conventional fish-tissue sampling and analysis procedures for whole fish or filets, the biopsy procedure for mercury in fish tissue is nonlethal, less cumbersome, more likely to be permitted by fisheries agencies, and a precise and accurate means for determining both filet and whole-fish mercury concentrations.

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