Hook and line and crab trap surveys were used to determine the nature and distribution of abnormalities and diseases in fish and blue crabs from sites throughout Biscayne Bay, Florida. The prevalence of external abnormalities was unevenly distributed with significant differences between
sites for each of four target species of fish (Archosargus rhomboidalis—sea bream, Haemulon sciurus—blue striped grunt, Lagodon rhomboides—pinfish and Lutjanus griseus—gray snapper) and one crab species (Callinectes sapidus—blue
crab). Missing or deformed dorsal finrays were the most common abnormalities observed in gray snapper. Scale disorientations were most common in pinfish while sea bream exhibited both types of abnormalities. The highest prevalence rates for these three species were found at Sunset Harbor Marina
and at Miami Beach Marina. Blue striped grunt had a low frequency of a variety of abnormalities. The prevalence of abnormalities for all fish surveyed was correlated with the concentration of total and aromatic hydrocarbons in sediment samples from sites within 2 km of the faunal survey sites.
However, no correlations were found with sediment concentrations of aliphatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, or five metals (Cd, Cu, Pb, Hg, and Zn). No correlations were found between contaminant concentrations and the distribution of abnormalities in the individual fish species
or blue crab except between sediment copper levels and abnormalities in the blue striped grunt. More recent data on the distribution and type of anthropogenic contaminants are needed to implicate or eliminate pollution as a cause of deformities found in the fish and blue crabs of Biscayne
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