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Monitoring of Environmental Pollutants in Coastal Areas (MILKYS)

The program monitors levels, trends and effects of the most environmentally hazardous heavy metals and organic pollutants in marine organisms along the entire Norwegian coast, from the Oslofjord to the Varangerfjord, and in Svalbard.

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About the project

Time span: 1981- (ongoing project). Last contract period: 2021-2025

Read about the program at the Norwegian Environment Agency

Biological effects are investigated at a selection of stations to assess the impact of pollutants on organisms. Results from the program are used for international agreements under the auspices of the EU and OSPAR, but also for national and local emission control measures and contribute to the assessment of Tryggsjømat. The aim is also to help stop the use and discharge of substances that are harmful to health and the environment.

Relevant parameters include metals and a number of inorganic and organic pollutants. Over the years, the program has monitored sediment, mussels, snails, shrimp, deep-sea fish as well as cod and a number of flatfish species. The program has also included source tracking using radioactive isotopes or extended station networks, the presence of microplastics, the use of passive samplers and short-term, more intensive monitoring in time and space to check how robust the ICES/OSPAR methods we use are.

The program has on several occasions taken a statistical "deep dive" into the database to reveal, for example, site gradients or better explanatory variables. The program has developed a new concept called Norwegian provisional high reference contaminant concentrations (PROREF).

The data are displayed at ICES (The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea), which is responsible for data management for OSPAR (The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic), and in the Norwegian Environment Agency's Water Environment database.

See the project's Norwegian website for more information.