By Kjartan Mæstad and Marie Hauge
The Institute of Marine Research and the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) are collaborating on the monitoring project. Fish and shellfish in the area are regularly checked for any mercury coming from the sediment.
The submarine was torpedoed and broke into two sections. A large proportion of its load of between 60 and 70 tonnes of mercury was destroyed and leaked out into the environment. This has been ascertained by high mercury values in some sediment samples taken close to the wreck of the submarine.
“The raising of submarine wreck will result in an increased risk of pollution during the raising operation. Provided that it goes well, the main source of potential pollution will be removed forever,” says scientist Jarle Klungsøyr at the Institute of Marine Research..
“But the operation will have no impact on the mercury that has already been released into the environment. That is the area of polluted sediment that is to be covered with sand.
Even so, small amounts of mercury that have already been released may be taken up by fish and shellfish. It is therefore important to continue monitoring the area,” says Klungsøyr.
Since 2004, the Institute of Marine Research and NIFES have been collecting and analysing samples of fish and shellfish from the area around the submarine wreck. Most of the mercury values have been low. For cod and red fish, some levels have been slightly above normal. There have been few cases recorded above the safe limit, which is 0.5 mg of mercury per kilo of fish.
- NIFES’s summary of the report
- The whole report : "Kvikksølvinnhald i fisk og sjømat ved søkkt ubåt (U864) vest av Fedje"
- The Norwegian Coastal Administration’s summary page on the U-864