Low organotin contamination of harbour sediment in Svalbard

Martine J. van Den Heuvel-Greve*, Ariadna S. Szczybelski, Nico W. van Den Brink, Michiel J.J. Kotterman, Christiaan J.A.F. Kwadijk, Anita Evenset, Albertinka J. Murk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Arctic sea routes are opening up for maritime transport due to sea ice retreat leading to increasing human activities in the Arctic and concomitant pressures on the environment. Organotin compounds are used in antifouling paints of large seagoing vessels and are known to leach into the marine environment and accumulate in sediments and biota. As organotin levels in Svalbard sediments have not been documented in peer-reviewed literature before, this study describes the levels in sediment of harbours around Svalbard (Ny-Ålesund, Longyearbyen, Svea, Pyramiden and Barentsburg). Organotin levels in sediments of Svalbard harbours were low (below the detection limit up to 14 ng Sn/g dw sum-butyltin) compared to other Arctic regions with a longer history of shipping. Levels were below known no effect levels and in accordance, no imposex was found in marine whelks from Ny-Ålesund harbour. Of all other analysed compounds in sediments of Kongsfjorden (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenylethers and perfluorinated compounds) PAH levels were highest and in one sample above action levels. It is advised to continue monitoring contaminant levels, for which the current results form a good basis. If contaminant levels rise, mitigation measures can be taken in time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1699-1709
JournalPolar Biology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Arctic
  • Contaminants
  • Kongsfjorden
  • Pollution
  • Sediment
  • Shipping
  • Spitsbergen
  • TBT


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