Nucella lapillus L. imposex levels after legislation prohibiting TBT antifoulants: temporal trends from 2003 to 2008 along the Portuguese coast

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Nucella lapillus (dog whelk) imposex levels were assessed along the mainland Portuguese coast in 2006 and 2008 and were compared with available data from 2003 for the same area. Given that specimen size has been described as a factor inducing variation in some of the imposex assessment indices, and thus resulting in less reliable results, new monitoring and data analysis procedures are described and applied to study change of imposex levels from 2003 to 2008. A significant decline in imposex intensity was observed in the study area during the study period, and the Portuguese coast ecological status (under the terms defined by the OSPAR Commission) notably improved after 2003, confirming the effectiveness of the Regulation (EC) No. 782/2003 in reducing TBT pollution. Nevertheless, N. lapillus populations are still extensively affected by imposex, and fresh TBT inputs were detected in seawater throughout the coast in 2006. These recent inputs are attributed to vessels still carrying TBT antifoulants applied before 2003, as their presence in vessels was only forbidden in 2008. Considering that Regulation (EC) No. 782/2003 is an anticipation of the IMO global ban entered into force in September 2008, a worldwide-scale decrease in TBT pollution can be expected in the near future.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)304-312
JournalJournal Of Environmental Monitoring
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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