Til hovedinnhold

Water Column Monitoring 2014: Determining the biological effects of an offshore platform on local fish populations

Eksterne nettsted
Steven Brooks, Daniela M. Pampanin, Christopher Peter Harman, Merete Grung


The biological effects of an offshore oil platform on local fish populations were assessed as part of the Water Column Monitoring (WCM) programme for 2014. The Njord A platform was chosen as the study location, which was not in operation and had no current discharge of produced water. Demersal fish species were targeted since they were believed to be less likely to migrate away from the platform than pelagic fish. By targeting organisms deeper in the water column and selecting a platform currently not in operation, the impact of drill cuttings and other sediment sources including leakages from well deposits were the main sources of contamination. Wild fish including ling (Molva molva), tusk (Brosme brosme), redfish (Sebastes sp.) and saithe (Pollachius virens) were caught with baited rod and line from within the 500 m safety zone of the Njord A platform during the summer of 2014. Reference fish were caught on a separate research cruise by trawling from a region of the Norwegian Sea less impacted by oil and gas activities. Limited numbers of reference ling were obtained and the reference data for ling collected from the North Sea as part of the WCM2013 programme were used for comparison of the biomarker responses. Contaminant body burden and a suite of biological effects endpoints were measured in all fish groups and included DNA adducts, DNA strand breaks by comet assay, acetylcholine esterase (AChE) inhibition, ethoxyresorufin 0-deethylase (EROD), vitellogenin (VTG), lysosomal membrane stability (LMS), liver and gill histopathology, PAH metabolites, and PAH body burden. The biomarker data were integrated using the integrated biological response index (IBR/n). Despite low and/or undetected concentrations of PAH and PAH metabolites in fish fillet and bile respectively significant responses in AChE, comet and DNA adducts were found. The biomarker responses indicated exposure to both neurotoxic and genotoxic chemicals in fish inhabiting the lower water column with influence from sediment sources around the Njord A platform. Integration of the biomarker responses (IBR/n) found that all four fish species that were caught from around the platform had markedly higher IBR/n values than their respective reference population. The study shows the advantage of using a suite of biomarkers for assessing the biological effects of low concentrations of complex mixtures with biological effects observed despite low concentrations of PAH measured.