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The use of Atlantic hagfish (Myxine glutinosa) as a bioindicator species for studies on effects of dumped chemical warfare agents in the Skagerrak. 1: Liver histopathology

Within the framework of the international project DAIMON (Decision Aid for Marine Munitions), the impact of dumped chemical munitions on fish health was investigated. The Skagerrak Straight (North Sea, at 600 m depth) contains munitions with chemical warfare agents (CWA), scuttled after the end of World War II. Studies of liver histopathology in Atlantic hagfish (Myxine glutinosa) were carried out at three sampling sites: at a wreck with CWA in the Skagerrak (n ¼ 82), a Skagerrak reference site considered to be free of CWA (n ¼ 14) and at a reference site in the northern North Sea outside the Skagerrak (n ¼ 17). Liver lesions were diagnosed and categorized according to standardized ICES and BEQUALM protocols and OSPAR guidelines. Non-specific liver lesions were found in 87.6% of 113 hagfish examined. The prevalence of pre-neoplastic lesions was 7.1% and of neoplastic lesions 6.2%. There was no statistically significant difference in prevalence between hagfish samples from the wreck site and from the reference site near the wrecks. However, at the reference site in the northern North Sea, the prevalence of non-specific lesions was low and neither preneoplastic nor neoplastic lesions were observed.



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