Mercury and arsenic in processed fins from nine of the most traded shark species in the Hong Kong and China dried seafood markets: The potential health risks of shark fin soup

Laura Garcia Barcia, Juana Argiro, Elizabeth A. Babcock, Yong Cai, Stanley K.H. Shea, Demian D. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Shark fin is one of Asia's most valued dried seafood products, with over 80 shark species traded in Hong Kong [HK]. We analyzed processed shark fins from mainland China and HK markets (n = 267) for mercury, methyl‑mercury, and arsenic, to inform consumers, policy makers and public health officials on the health risks of ingesting fins from nine of the most common shark species in the fin trade. Fins from all species frequently exceed Hg limits established by HK authorities. Most of the mercury found is in the form of methyl‑mercury (69.0 ± 33.5%). Five species surpass methyl‑mercury PTWIs and blue shark fins can exceed inorganic arsenic BMDL0.5. Species-of-origin was a significant predictor of heavy metal concentrations, with higher mercury concentrations associated with coastal sharks and lower arsenic levels found with increasing shark trophic level. Species-specific labeling would help consumers avoid shark fin products that pose the highest health risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111281
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume157
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Arsenic
  • Hong Kong
  • Mercury
  • Public health
  • Shark fin soup

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

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