Trace metal distribution in pelagic fish species from the north-west African coast (Morocco)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Faculty of Sciences Ain Chock, Hassan II University, Maarif, B. P. 5366, 20100, Casablanca, Morocco

2 National Institute of Halieutic Research, Street Sidi Abderrahmane Club equestre Ould Jmel, 20100, Casablanca, Morocco

3 Faculty of Sciences Ben M’sik, Avenue du Cdt Driss Lharti, 20700, Casablanca, Morocco

4 UMR LEMAR 6539, IUEM, Place copernic, Plouzané, 29820, Brest, France



In the current study, ten elements contents (Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu, Cr, Co, Ni, Cd, Pb and Hg) have been measured in muscle and liver of four pelagic fish species (Engraulis encrasicolus, Sardina pilchardus, Scomber japonicus and Trachurus trachurus) from the north-west African coast (South Atlantic Moroccan coast), collected during summer and autumn seasons (July and December 2013, respectively). Significant differences in metal contents were found between the different species (p < 0.05). Metals levels were also much higher in liver than those recorded in muscle tissues. The concentrations of Fe, Zn, Cd, Co, Cu and Pb were significantly higher in mackerel liver (p < 0.05).While, in muscle, anchovy presents a higher content of Mn, Cu, Cr, Ni and Pb. A high level of cadmium was recorded in liver of the different species which can be attributed to an anthropogenic source (phosphate industry) and to natural sources (upwelling activities). The main concentration of toxic elements (Cd, Pb and Hg) recorded in the four edible muscles of pelagic fish species, under study, were below the established values by the European Commission Regulations and show that their effect on the consumers health can be considered as negligible.