Testing of water and fish for pollutants (FOI)
Testing of water and fish for pollutants (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 23 May 2022.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Are Jersey's fishing waters tested for pollutants including micro plastics, dioxins and heavy metals and if so please can you disclose the levels?
Is locally caught seafood such as fish and shellfish tested for levels of pollutants such as micro plastics, dioxins and heavy metals and if so please can you disclose the amounts?
The Marine Resources (MR) section within Infrastructure, Housing and Environment (IHE) carry out quarterly testing for heavy metals in seaweed and molluscs at fixed on and offshore locations.
The information you have requested is partially exempt under Article 23 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 because the information is already accessible to you on www.gov.je within the annual Marine Resources reports:
Marine Resources Annual Report 2020 (gov.je) - p30
Marine Resources Annual Report 2019 (government and administration section) (gov.je) - p29
Marine Resources Annual Report 2018 (gov.je) - p31
Marine Resources Annual Report 2017 (gov.je) - p17
The Land Resources Management (LRM) section within IHE are carrying out a four-year monitoring programme on water and sediments in harbour areas in collaboration with Ports of Jersey, which includes heavy metal testing.
The results are published on www.gov.je therefore this information is exempt under Article 23 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011:
Environmental monitoring of Jersey's marinas and harbours (gov.je)
LRM undertake bi-annual heavy metal analysis of shellfish waters at four of the oyster beds. This analysis commenced in 2015 and the attached spreadsheet details the results.
Updated LRM bi annual shellfish heavy metal water results - April 2022 (excel spreadsheet)
It should be noted that the monitoring was impacted in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions, therefore, some data is missing for this period.
The 2015 status assessment of St Aubin's Bay included some chemical analysis, including heavy metals. The results are available on www.gov.je, therefore Article 23 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 applies:
The Environmental Status of St. Aubin's Bay - WCA Environmental Limited - November 2015 (gov.je)
The Government of Jersey does not routinely monitor micro plastic and dioxins in Jersey fishing waters, therefore, this information is not held and Article 10 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 applies.
However, a review on microplastic monitoring was carried out in 2021, which provided recommendations for future monitoring, but a formalised programme has not yet been established.
IHE have provided guidance to students in relation to their collection of raw data regarding microplastics as part of their dissertations. In return the students have provided IHE with that attached data.
EPR SD plastic survey raw data 2018 (excel spreadsheet)
EPR microplastic raw data 27.08.2022 (excel spreadsheet)
The Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881 / 2006 of 19 December 2006 set maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs, including shellfish.
As a result, regular testing for dioxins and heavy metals in shellfish is carried out by the Food and Plant Security team within Environmental and Consumer Protection (ECP) to ensure they are within the agreed levels. The 2021 results are attached.
ECP test results re Dioxins and Heavy Metals in shellfish 2021 (word document)
The Government of Jersey do not currently test locally caught seafood for micro plastics, therefore this information is not held and Article 10 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 applies.
Article 10 - Obligation of scheduled public authority to confirm or deny holding Information
(1) Subject to paragraph (2), if –
(a) a person makes a request for information to a scheduled public authority; and
(b) the authority does not hold the information, it must inform the applicant accordingly.
(2) If a person makes a request for information to a scheduled public authority and –
(a) the information is absolutely exempt information or qualified exempt information; or
(b) if the authority does not hold the information, the information would be absolutely exempt information or qualified exempt information if it had held it, The authority may refuse to inform the applicant whether or not it holds the information if it is satisfied that, in all the circumstances of the case, it is in the public interest to do so.
Article 23 - Information accessible to applicant by other means
(1) Information is absolutely exempt information if it is reasonably available to the applicant, otherwise than under this Law, whether or not free of charge.
(2) A scheduled public authority that refuses an application for information on this ground must make reasonable efforts to inform the applicant where the applicant may obtain the information.