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Scientists Assess Contaminants in Vieques, Puerto Rico Shellfish

The Caribbean Spiny Lobster

Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) and Queen conch (Strombus gigas) in the coastal waters of Vieques, Puerto Rico were tested for a suite of contaminants.

A team of scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management recently completed field sampling of conch and lobster tissues in Vieques, Puerto Rico. The shellfish tissues will be analyzed for a suite of contaminants, including heavy metals, energetic compounds, and chlorinated pesticides.

The project was requested by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to help address local concerns that land-based sources of pollution are affecting fish populations on the south shore of the island. Large portions of the island of Vieques were used by the Department of Defense for military activities, including live bombing, from 1941 to 2001. A report on this project will be completed and distributed in fiscal year 2015.

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