Metallic Element Contaminant and nutrient assessment in sediments and water at marine fish farms of sea bass and sea bream in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea


  • Rym Ennouri Unité Exploitation des Milieux Aquatiques, Institut Supérieur de Pêche et d’Aquaculture de Bizerte, 7080 Menzel Jemil, Tunisia
  • Sami Mili Unité Exploitation des Milieux Aquatiques, Institut Supérieur de Pêche et d’Aquaculture de Bizerte, 7080 Menzel Jemil, Tunisia
  • Hechmi Missaoui Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer, 2025 Salammbô, Tunisia



Fish farms, MECs, Nutrients, Sediments, Water column, Gulf of Hammamet


Concentration of selected Metallic Element Contaminants (MECs) (Cd, Pb, Hg, Cu, Fe, Zn, Mn, Mg, Ca, Na, and K), Total Organic Carbon (TOC), and Total Nitrogen (TN) in the superficial layer of sediments from 4 fish farms in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea were studied in order to evaluate the environmental effects of marine aquaculture and to establish correlations between aquaculture and the accumulation of MECs. The levels of nutrients (Nitrate (NO3, Nitrite (NO2), Ammonium (NH4), Phosphate (PO4), Silicate (Si), Total Nitrogen (TN), and Total Phosphorus (TP)) in the water column were evaluated. The concentrations of Cd, Pb, and Cu were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The metallic elements Fe, Zn, Mg, Mn, K, Na, and Ca were measured by flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Mercury was analyzed by Direct Analyzer of Mercury. Nutrients analyses were carried out by Autoanalyzer. The levels of MECs obtained varied between 0.04 and 0.25 μg g-1 dry weight for Cd; 16.3 and 46 μg g-1 dry weight for Pb; and 9 and 46 μg kg-1 dry weight for Hg. The levels of nutrients in µmol/l varied between 0.96 and 2.79 for NO3; 1.75 and 4.07 for NH4; and 0.1 and 0.5 for NO2. The results suggested that MEC enrichment in the sediments may be attributed to fish farm effluents, although metal concentrations were not likely to cause harmful effects in the marine ecosystem. The nutrient levels in the water column could be due to sources arising from various anthropogenic activities within the study area. Moreover, the spatial variability was due to increasing nutrient concentrations at the localities close to nonpoint sources. Continuous monitoring and further studies of the area are recommended to determine long-term effects.


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How to Cite

Ennouri, R. ., Mili, S., & Missaoui, H. . (2021). Metallic Element Contaminant and nutrient assessment in sediments and water at marine fish farms of sea bass and sea bream in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Maritime Technology and Research, 3(3), 237–253.