Because of their excellent properties as a biomonitor, yellow eels (Anguilla anguilla) have been used for time-trend monitoring of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and tetrabrominated diphenylether (tetra-BDE). The program has now lasted for thirty years and has delivered valuable information on trends and spatial differences of these compounds in the delta of the rivers Rhine and Meuse and other Dutch canals, rivers and lakes. Specific local PCB, HCH and dieldrin contaminations were identified. Temporal trends show a slow decrease of PCB concentrations since 1977. Eels from the rivers Rhine and Meuse still exceed present European maximum residue limits for dioxin-like PCBs. Apart from some exceptions, OCP and tetra-BDE concentrations have also decreased, and more than those of PCBs. Fat contents of eel have decreased from an average of 21 to ca. 13%. This decrease in fat contents, coincides with the strong reduction of the European eel stock. Results of thirty-year eel monitoring in The Netherlands reveal decreasing PCB and organochlorine pesticide concentrations, and the identification of specific local contaminations.
- temporal trends