PCB in whale
Start date: 1. May 2015
End date: 31. December 2016
Financed by: Ministry of trade, industries and fisheries
The project is lead by: NIFES


It is known that fatty samples such as whale blubber may contain elevated levels of PCBs; and combined with different methods of analysis in Japan and Norway/EU, it has proved difficult to predict whether a shipment of blubber is rejected or not when it arrives Japan. PCB analysis of the whale blubber samples taken in this project will give a much better knowledge about the PCB levels in whale in general. The results from determinations will also form the basis for a possible future comparison with the Japanese method. The content of mercury in whale meat has been examined previously and at the time the survey showed that the level was below the limit of 0.5 mg/kg which is the limit for most fish. It is therefore interesting to see whether mercury levels have changed compared to the last investigation.


During the whaling season in 2015 samples of minke whales are taken so that these goals can be achieved:

  1. Document the level of PCB 7 in this year’s catch in three different types of blubber from the same animal; blubber, belly and under jaw to investigate variations between different types of blubber from the same animal, variations between different animals and especially geographic variations between animals caught in the north and south. In addition, this year’s values will be compared to corresponding figures of PCB from around the year 2001 in Norwegian whale determined by NVH/VI.
  2. Document the level of mercury in whale meat. The levels will be compared with figures from 2011 on mercury in Norwegian whale analyzed by NIFES.
  3. Collect samples for future microbiological and parasitological investigations.

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