TABLES & FIGURES
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Fish and shellfish consumption advisories due to toxic chemical contamination were announced in New Jersey in the 1980s and 1990s. Data from Division of Science, Research and Technology (DSRT) studies revealed that unacceptable risks existed for eating certain species of fish and shellfish from certain waters in the State. These advisories particularly apply to pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children because polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin and mercury are known to cause birth defects, developmental problems, neurological problems and/or cancer. However, limited new data has been generated in the past ten years. Therefore, it is not known how appropriate the advisories are today. Current advisories are listed on NJDEP’s Website (www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw).
Therefore, new data are needed on a recurring basis to evaluate and adjust advisories as appropriate. Without regular monitoring data, current advisories could be either under or overly protective of human health. The primary objectives of the monitoring program are;
A statewide “Routine Monitoring Program for Toxics in Fish” has been developed. However, the scope of work detailed in this Work Plan covers only 1) the Marine and Estuarine components of the proposed statewide Monitoring Plan (i.e., Year 2 of the plan), and 2) a separate stand-alone investigation of dioxin and other contaminants on the tidal Passaic River and its downstream receiving waters, which will support both the Department’s Natural Resource Damage (NRD) claim process as well as its Passaic River Directive.
Note: It is important to add, that a dedicated source of annually renewable funding for the complete “Routine Monitoring Program for Toxics in Fish” (on a rotating five year plan) would be preferable and more protective of public health and natural resources, as well as supplying a continuous means for enforcing State laws affecting the abatement of toxic chemical releases into the waters of the State.
The primary goal of the Monitoring Program is to update the human health consumption advisories for certain foodfish species and/or geographic areas. However, NJDEP recognizes the additional potential usages of these data for such important collateral activities as natural resources management, hazardous site characterization, water quality assessment, natural resource damage claims, and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development. Where possible, the Monitoring Plan has been designed in cooperation with these Programs and in such a way as to meet the Department’s data quality objectives (fish and shellfish collection and analytical techniques) and to maximize benefits for each individual program. The Program Objectives described below outline some of these goals.
Division of Fish and Wildlife
The marine resources in New Jersey support some of the largest recreational and commercial fisheries on the United States Atlantic Coast. On average, about one million recreational anglers spend over 5 million days fishing our marine waters. Each year, recreational marine anglers spend over $750 million resulting in over 20,000 full time equivalent jobs and $45 million in sales tax income to New Jersey. The commercial fishery has approximately 1,900 commercial fishing vessels producing dockside sales of fish, shellfish and crustaceans valued at over $95 million annually. The commercial industry employs approximately 22,000 people in the harvesting, processing and wholesale and retail sales of marine fish and shellfish. The combined value of the commercial and recreational industries to the economy of New Jersey is between $1.5 and $2.1 Billion. These numbers do not include the value that our marine environment and fishing opportunities have on New Jersey’s tourist industries. Approximately one-third of all marine-angling participants are non-residents.
Consumption advisories have undoubtedly affected and will continue to affect the quality of the fishing experience and therefore the amount of money spent on fishing in New Jersey. A regular and continuing fish tissue-sampling program will aid in issuing up to date and accurate fish advisories as well as support advisory outreach efforts. A consistent positive message on the benefits of eating seafood along with a fish tissue-sampling program will benefit the recreational and commercial fishing interests in New Jersey.
Measurements of contaminants up the food chain can also assist in assessing ecological as well as human health risks in the region. Monitoring of contaminant levels in piscivorous (fish-eating) birds is planned to determine the magnitude and effects of contaminants at higher trophic levels. Cormorants are common in the harbor and a strict piscivore. Cormorants have wide foraging ranges, however birds tied to a nesting colony have a more localized range. Therefore, eggs and/or blood from nesting colony birds will be targeted for sampling. Samples will be collected from Shooters Island (Newark Bay) and Swinburne Island (Lower Bay). Data will be compared to samples collected by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) in 1999.
Office of Natural Resource Restoration (ONRR)
ONRR pursues restoration of injured resources for the citizens of New Jersey. Having accurate fish tissue data will enable ONRR to effectively prioritize damage assessment of watershed specific fishery resources. Accurate and up to date sampling results will also aid in producing legally and scientifically defensible damage assessments. This will further the cause for DEP to fully realize its natural resource trustee obligation under existing statutes. ONRR supports the current proposal and would find it beneficial if the scope of the proposal were expanded into additional watersheds, targeted additional fish species and include waterfowl sampling. Settlement monies recovered due to lost fishery resources will be returned to the public through primary and/or secondary restoration projects. These projects will have a nexus to the injury and will focus on improving the fishery resources that have been damaged.
Monitoring and Standards
Water Monitoring has indicated a need to collect bivalve (e.g., clam)
samples in estuarine waters. Establishment of routine monitoring of
bivalve tissues is needed in order to establish that they meet federal
guidance levels for metals. Targeted contaminants identified under the
National Shellfish Sanitation Program include arsenic, cadmium, chromium,
lead, mercury and nickel. Meeting federal guidance values could result
in opening additional waters to direct market harvest.
Division of Watershed Management
Approximately 117 TMDLs that are required as a result of listings for contaminated fish tissue will be due starting in 2006. The last group is due in 2011. It is very important that current fish tissue data be available for these TMDLs. Conditions have most likely changed since the available data were collected in 1987. In some cases, TMDLs may no longer be necessary, as environmental conditions have improved. This happened in Strawbridge Lake, one of New Jersey’s first completed TMDLs. Fish tissue contamination with chlordane was the basis for original listing, whereas current data were available to show that chlordane levels had dropped significantly. To develop a TMDL that reflects current conditions and solve existing contamination problems recurrent sampling and data gathering is crucial.
Site Remediation and Waste Management Program (SRWM)
SRWM’s Division of Remediation Management and Response is responsible for the remediation, management and response to environmental impacts associated with hazardous waste sites. For the purpose of evaluating the progress of site characterization and cleanup activities it is important to understand the pathways that contaminants travel through the environmental as well as the risks to both human health and the surrounding ecosystem. Aquatic food chain impacts are common side effects especially from a site contaminated with persistent bioaccumulative toxics (PBTs) such as PCBs, dioxins and mercury. From a risk perspective fish contamination by PBTs can become an important remedial investigative concern in the Remedial Investigation Feasibility Study (RI/FS) process, the first steps in the development of a clean up plan or a claim for natural resource damages. The analysis of fish from this Work Plan will assist SRWM in determining the fate and effects of PBTs from sites into the surrounding environment. Of particular interest to SRWP is the aquatic effects and bioaccumulation of dioxins from the Diamond-Alkali Facility on the Passaic River, which is the primary source of fish consumption advisories for the surrounding and downstream waters. The Diamond Alkali RI/FS for the Passaic River Area of Concern is ongoing and any additional data from fish contaminant results would be beneficial.
Ecological impacts are also a concern of SRWM. Impacts on the aquatic food chain from contaminants can be significant, and potential risks and impacts can be ascertained from the planned sampling. Levels of contaminants in fish and shellfish (i.e., crabs and lobster), as well as piscivorous birds can be used to approximate the potential ecological risks and impacts to the ecosystem.
The scope of work is presented below in two tasks. Task I details the baseline status and trends sampling for the Coastal Region of the State. Whereas Task II presents more targeted sampling within the tidal Passaic River and Newark Bay for dioxin/furan analysis to support the Passaic River Directive and the Passaic River/Newark Bay Natural Resource Damage Claim. The latter sampling includes more dioxin analyses of samples, more species per site, and additional down bay sampling of the Lower Passaic-Hackensack Rivers, Newark and Raritan Bays, and Sandy Hook Bay. Sampling will be coordinated with other state or federal agencies’ fish/shellfish collection efforts (e.g., NMFS) where appropriate.
Seven species of estuarine-marine fish/shellfish (striped bass, bluefish, white perch, white catfish, American eel, blue crab and lobster) are under consumption advisories on a statewide, regional and waterway specific for PCB and/or dioxin contamination. These species and locations are a starting point for the design of the Fish Monitoring Program (See Table 1). Weakfish and five samples of other fish species of opportunity (snapper bluefish, winter flounder, menhaden or other species) will be collected from select locations. Unless specified, fillets from all coastal estuarine and marine species will be analyzed for PCBs, pesticides and total mercury, as well as lipids (Table 2). Monitoring for dioxins/furans at specific stations (e.g., Newark Bay and Raritan River) will be included in Task II. Sampling includes alongshore-coastal areas, Delaware Bay and Estuary and Barnegat Bay. If supplemental funding becomes available, additional sampling sites, fish species or non-routine contaminants may be included in the monitoring program. A subset of samples will be analyzed for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) under an initial screening assessment to be developed in conjunction with the laboratory.
The results of this monitoring will expand upon the existing contaminant database used to develop fish consumption advisories. The monitoring will identify chemical contaminant levels in Atlantic marine and estuarine species from several waterways throughout the coastal portions of the state.
Each crab sample
to be separately analyzed as muscle and hepatopancreas (i.e., total
= sample x 2). Each sample will be a composite of approximately 5 individuals.
congeners appearing as pairs or triplets will coelute and will be reported
In recognition of the continuing public health advisories associated with dioxin contamination in foodfish and shellfish within the tidal Passaic River, Newark Bay, the two Kills, Raritan and Sandy Hook Bays, as well as the near shore ocean waters of the New York Bight, a separate yet interrelated study will be carried out involving the collection of fish/shellfish/bird samples for dioxin/furan analysis. These locations will be sampled differentially for four species; white perch, striped bass, blue crab and American lobster within their preferred ecological zones or habitats (Table 3). An additional “species of opportunity” will be collected at two locations. Potential species include winter flounder, snapper bluefish, weakfish, and menhaden. Cormorant tissue (i.e., eggs and/or blood) will be collected at two locations. Species and sample location are designed to address multiple program data needs including water quality assessment, contaminated site assessment, natural resource damage claims, TMDLs and resource management concerns.
Each tissue (i.e., fillet, muscle, hepatopancreas, egg, and blood) will undergo analysis for dioxins/furans, PCBs/Pesticides, mercury and lipids (Table 4). Composite samples will be used for crab and lobster tissue. A subset of samples will also be analyzed for PBDEs under an initial screening assessment to be developed in conjunction with the laboratory.
Optional Sampling: DEP programs also identified several additional data needs. If money is available, additional species will be collected at the same or additional locations. Samples will potentially include bivalve clams (e.g., in Raritan/Sandy Hook Bay) and other fish species.
* Each crab and lobster sample to be separately analyzed as muscle
and hepatopancreas (i.e., total = sample x 2). Each sample will be a
composite of approximately 5 individuals.
Fish tissue samples will be processed according to the planned analysis. The program will follow the procedure used in past monitoring programs (i.e., ANSP Procedure P-14-12 (Rev. 4 (12/00) titled Preparation of Fish Samples For Contaminant Analysis):
3.1.1 Fillet with skin, but with scales removed this is the default type of tissue sample for most scaly fish (i.e. sunfish and shad). This consists of the entire fillet or pairs of fillets (right and left sides), overlaying skin and belly flap meat.
3.1.3 Fillet without skin - (i.e. gar, catfish, sturgeon), This consists of the entire fillet, including the belly flap tissue, with skin and scales removed.
3.1.4 Fillet with skin on (except catfish and eels), scales off and including pelvic fin, rib cage and belly meat (equivalent to USFDA fillet and "New York standard fillet").
Fish prepared using 3.1.1 and 3.1.4 will be analyzed for organic compounds (i.e. PCBs, OCP, and dioxin) and fish prepared using 3.1.3 will be used for mercury analysis.
of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (ANSP) and the Geochemical and Environmental
Research Group (GERG) at Texas A&M University will be conducting
the analysis of all tissue samples. These laboratories will use the
following analytical methods as outlined in Table 5 and detection limits
are listed in Tables 6 and 7.
1 - Dependent on size of sample extracted
This estuarine/marine component reflects Year 2 of the five-year plan meant to assess on a routine rotating basis, all the critical waterways in New Jersey where fish consumption advisories are in place due to the bioaccumulation of toxic chemicals (i.e., PCBs, dioxins, and mercury). See Figure 1 for the full fish advisory and sampling schedule for marine/estuarine waters.
Sampling (Summer –Fall 2004)
Preparation and Analysis (2004 – 2005)
and Reporting (Summer - Fall 2005)
All data generated will be placed in the NJDEP’s STORET database, which will then be posted to USEPA’s national STORET database. This will ensure that the information is readily accessible to other state and Federal agencies as well as the general public. All revisions to the state fish consumption advisories will also be posted on DSRT’s web site along with ArcView-based GIS maps with links to other relevant federal and state programs associated with contaminated food fish.
Draft fish advisories will be available for stakeholder review by September 2005. Final revised advisories will be issued in November 2005.
Task I Budget: Coastwide Routine Monitoring: Estuarine & Marine Species
The budget for Task I is listed in Table 8 and includes the number of sites and species to be sampled, the number of samples, and estimated costs. The estimated total cost is $216,075.
*1 muscle tissue + 1 hepatopancreas per sample
This component of the budget is estimated (i.e., final costs will be determined by contractor bid and the actual number of samples collected). The analytical contract for dioxin/furan, PCB congeners, mercury and PBDEs will be approximately $234,500 for the planned 114 samples. Another $49,000 is needed for field collection, reporting, equipment purchase, boat costs, and other miscellaneous costs. Therefore an estimated total cost for Task II would be approximately $284,000 (Table 9).
* Composite samples
of Science, Research and Technology