EU Science Hub

Can all fish varieties tell us about water quality?

Jul 18 2014

To preserve and improve the quality of EU waters, the recent EU Directive 2013/39/EU establishes environmental quality standards in specified biota for some priority pollutants regulated under the EU Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC (WFD).

In the frame of the development and production of a Certified Reference Material (CRM), scientists from the JRC-Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements measured two of the WFD priority substances, hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene, in the fillets of 29 Wels catfish caught in the Ebro River in Spain. A high variability of results was observed even when considering fillets of individual fish of the same weight or lipid content, collected in the same area and in the same period. While this variability could be overcome in the successful processing of the CRM, it may complicate the evaluation of data for regulatory compliance. The published findings can support decisions on the type of biota for establishing biota monitoring schemes for the implementation of the WFD.


Read more in: R. Lava et al., A practical example of the challenges of biota monitoring under the Water Framework Directive, TrAC (2014) 59:103–111, doi:10.1016/j.trac.2014.02.018