Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 40 (1-2), p. 120-125 (1998); doi:10.1006/eesa.1998.1652
Brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) is a native fish of the rivers of northern Spain. It is the dominant fish species in these rivers, and it is widespread over all the range of freshwater ecosystems in the area, including ecosystems potentially polluted with heavy metals. In this study, the potential of brown trout as biomonitor of heavy metal pollution and the effect of fish age on the reliability of the assessment are analyzed. Copper, lead, and cadmium concentrations of both abiotic compartments (water and sediments) and brown trout (S. trutta) from three northern Spanish rivers were analyzed. Significant correlations were found between sediment lead content and lead concentration in trout liver. One-year-old juvenile trouts were demonstrated to be useful as a biomonitor of copper and lead pollution, revealing between-location differences. Older trouts do not seem adequate to properly monitor heavy metal pollution. The effect of aging on the reliability of this species as biomonitor is discussed.