WP7: Contamination risks

Co-ordinator: Wageningen University (WU)

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  1. The effects of the chemical inputs (pesticides, antimicrobials, pharmaceuticals, nutrients, feed supplies, etc.) assessed at different endpoints: aquatic ecosystems, targeted produce and/or consumers.
  2. Based on the results of the preliminary risk assessment and monitoring program, input provided on action research items (WP9) and data to test the environmental models (WP4).
  3. Rapid assessment tools developed for regulators involved in certification QC process (WP8)

Description of work and role of participants

T7.1 Preliminary Risk Assessment: In the systems of concern two flows of contamination can be identified: 1) flowing into aquaculture systems from agriculture (e.g. pesticides) and industry (e.g. heavy metals) and 2) a flow of chemicals used in aquaculture (pharmaceuticals, antimicrobials, feed additives, etc.) out of the systems.. Scoping data on flow directions, fate and effects of these contaminants will be collected (in collaboration with WP4). Where outflows are present, an assessment will be made of the external ecosystems affected, produce targeted and consumers potentially at risk. Biological components affected (including the fish, shrimp and prawns) will be identified, and toxicity data for the endpoints and contaminants of concern will be collected. Based on this, a preliminary risk assessment will be performed by contrasting the exposure assessed in WP4, with ecological threshold levels calculated from literature toxicity data for standard test organisms (alga, Daphnia and fish). If risks are demonstrated, the existence of higher tier data (e.g. toxicity values for non-standard test species, community or ecosystem level experiments using microcosms and mesocosms, monitoring results) will be checked and if available included in the preliminary risk assessment to refine the risks.

T7.2 Monitoring program: Both a chemical and a biological monitoring program will be executed in aquatic ecosystems at the farm level to evaluate possible risks for the three endpoints (aquatic ecosystems, targeted produce and consumers). This activity will be conducted by the WU and UCPH partners, focussing on contaminants for which possible risks were identified in the preliminary risk assessment. The aim is three-fold: (1) to assess effects of contamination at the farm level for the different endpoints, (2) to test the environmental models as developed in WP4, and (3) identify action research needs based on the outcome of the monitoring program, in order to reduce the identified risks. The monitoring programs will be designed in close consultation with WP4 and WP6. Chemical sampling of water, sediment, seafood, fish/shrimp feed will be performed together with a biological evaluation of the composition of relevant biological communities (e.g. fish, macro-invertebrates, zooplankton, macrophytes, algae) of the aquatic ecosystems identified to be at risk in the PRA. Relevant univariate and multivariate statistical methods will be applied to the monitoring data to extract correlations between chemistry and biology. All the works will be coordinated by WU but executed in close collaboration with UCPH, the coordinator UOS and local Asian partners (SFU, CU, KU and BAU). UCPH will be responsible for the preparation of study protocols, including sampling, sample processing and shipment, and the actual analyses of antimicrobial residues and heavy metals in environmental and fish/shrimp/prawn samples. Modern equipment, standard (e.g. ICP-MS for initial screening heavy metal analyses) and newly developed methods (i.e. for antimicrobial residues and their metabolites) will be used. Close collaboration with local partners are needed as they have the knowledge of the case study and reference areas, as well as the access to the local infrastructure needed to execute the monitoring program. Most of the monitoring work will be conducted by the local partners, with close support and supervision from WU and UCPH.

T7.3 Development of rapid assessment toolbox for certification quality control. Based on the results of the monitoring program and the occupational and consumer health hazards identified in WP6, technologically and socio-culturally appropriate rapid assessment tools will be identified to support the development, implementation and evaluation of an overall ethical food aquatic index (EAFI) to be used by regulators involved in certification QC process to check whether farmers comply to EAFI (WP8). Analytical tools include assays like biomarkers of exposure which can indicate the presence of an undesired contamination, and decision support systems that can help to evaluate the effects of alternative pest or disease management and cases of mismanagement by farmers. It is envisaged that no new assay techniques can be developed, but many biomarkers of exposure already exist (Van den Brink et al., 2008). If needed, a decision support system will be developed in cooperation with relevant stakeholders to ensure that both the handling of the system and the interpretation of its output is understandable for the relevant stakeholders.


D7.1 (month 12) Report and scientific article on the results and conclusions of the preliminary risk assessment together with future policy and research needs.

D7.2 (month 12) Workshop with all relevant project partners (WU, UCPH, UOS, SFU, CU, KU and BAU) to draft the protocol of the monitoring program, including a division of tasks and responsibilities.

D7.3 (month 24) Workshop with NENT (WP8), UCPH (WP6) and UOS (WP9) to draft the outline of the rapid assessment tool box.

D7.4 (month 26) Report and scientific articles on the results and conclusions of the monitoring program together with future policy and research needs.

D7.5 (month 36) Deliverance of rapid assessment tool box to WP8.

D7.6 (month 36) Report and scientific article on the results and conclusions of the rapid assessment toolbox development together with future policy and research needs.

Photo © Loni Hensler