Environmental Data Centre, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea

Data Center Description
The initial work coordinated by ICES on marine pollution
concerned the measurement of chemical contaminants (trace metals
and trace organics) in commercial species of fish and
shellfish. This programme began in 1972 with the initial aim of
assessing the potential risk to human consumers caused by
contaminants in fish and shellfish. Under the Cooperative ICES
Monitoring Studies Programme, data are submitted by ICES Member
Countries to the ICES Secretariat for compilation and handling.

The early data, mainly on contaminants in fish and shellfish,
were handled on paper until 1983, when the development of a
computerized system was begun. At this time, ICES also offered
its services as a data centre to the Oslo and Paris Commissions
for handling the data collected under the Commission's Joint
Monitoring Programme (JMP), which then covered the measurements
of contaminants in fish/shellfish and sea water, with plans for
measurements in sediments when feasible. This offer was
accepted by the Commissions in 1983, with effect from
1984. Since then, the JMP has expanded greatly, so that now the
ICES Environmental Data Centre contains data on a large number
of contaminants in biota and sediments, and a smaller number of
contaminants in sea water. In the past few years, the Data
Centre has expanded additionally to accommodate new parameters
covered under the North Sea Task Force Monitoring Master Plan,
particularly biological effects monitoring results and data on
fis h disease prevalence.

Simultaneously with the development of contaminant monitoring
programmes, programmes were developed to promote the
comparability of chemical analytical data produced by
participating laboratories, termed quality assurance (QA)
programmes. Intercomparison exercises on the analysis of
contaminants in marine media have represented a key component
of the ICES QA programme. The Data Centre has been developed to
store results of these and other intercomparison exercises.

The Environmental Data Centre

The Environmental Data Centre, contains probably the largest
international databank on contaminants in marine media. The
databank contains data back to 1978 for contaminants for which
the data are considered to be valid, mainly on trace metals in
finfish and shellfish. At present, the databank contains the
following validated data, not including ancillary data

-contaminants in marine invertebrates, fish, birds, and mammals
(ca. 369,749 records)

-contaminants in sea water (ca. 307,745 records)

-contaminants in sediments (ca. 86,063 records)

-data from measurements of the biological effects of
contaminants: enzyme assay (ca. 5187 records) and oyster embryo
bioassay (ca. 200 records) fish disease prevalence data
(ca. 788,204 records) quality assurance information.

Website: http://www.ices.dk/env/

[Summary provided by ICES]