Author / Editor: Guzmán Díez, Estibaliz Díaz, Luis Arregi, Yolanda Sagarminaga, Xabier Irigoien, Paula Álvarez, Unai Cotano, Hilario Murua, María Santos, Arantxa Murillas and Ibon Galparsoro (AZTI-Tecnalia)
Content: The presence at the beginning of 2003 in the Bay of Biscay of huge amount from the Prestige wreck occurred in November 2002 in Galicia waters, led to carry out in the affected area a study to assess at the short and medium term the effects of the oil spill in the fisheries and in the trophic chain.
More specifically, the aim of the experimental design was focused to assess the PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) effects in the life cycle and population structure of two representative demersal and pelagic fish species; hake (Merluccius merluccius) and anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus). The study included the analysis of relevant biological indicators of toxicological effects of species (histopathological prevalence, tisular concentration of PAHs, larval condition and alterations in the fertility) and also the evaluation of the status in the lowest trophic levels as chlorophyll and zooplankton abundance. Whenever possible the studies tried to compare the biological effects recorded at short-medium term after the oil spill with a historical review of the levels of biological parameters described.
The project was supported by several surveys that allowed collecting enough samples for the biological studies and also for a GIS database designed for the management and presentation of the project results. To estimate the possible loss of income by fishermen and the changes made in the demand fish as result of the oil spill, the project also included a socio-economic study focused on three species targeted by the Basque artisanal fleet.