Oil fouling in three subsistence-harvested ringed (Phoca hispida) and spotted seals (Phoca largha) from the Bering Strait region, Alaska: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon bile and tissue levels and pathological findings.
Department of Wildlife Management, North Slope Borough, Box 69, Barrow, AK 99723, USA; Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 902 N. Koyukuk Dr., P.O. Box 757000, Fairbanks, AK 99775-70, USA. Electronic address: Raphaela.Stimmelmayr@north-slope.org.
Oil spills of unknown origin were detected in three oil-fouled, ice-associated seals from the Alaska Bering Strait region collected by Alaska Native subsistence hunters during fall 2012. Bile analyses of two oiled seals indicated exposure to fluorescent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) metabolites but levels of some metabolites were similar to or lower than biliary levels in harvested unoiled ice seals. Oiled seals had elevated tissue PAH concentrations compared to tissue levels of PAHs determined in unoiled ice seals. However, regardless of oiling status, tissue PAH levels were relatively low (