Mercury emission factors from intensive shrimp aquaculture and their relative importance to the Jaguaribe River Estuary, NE Brazil.

Research paper by L D LD Lacerda, T M TM Soares, B G B BG Costa, M D P MD Godoy

Indexed on: 17 Sep '11Published on: 17 Sep '11Published in: Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology


This study estimated Hg emission factors (EFs) and total Hg loading to the Jaguaribe Estuary, NE Brazil, from intensive shrimp farming, and compares this with other local anthropogenic activities. The EF reached 83.5 mg ha(-1) cycle(-1) (about 175 mg ha(-1) year(-1)), resulting in an annual Hg load to the estuary of 0.35 kg. The calculated EF is comparable to Hg EFs from urban wastewaters (200 mg ha(-1)) and solid waste disposal (400 mg ha(-1) year(-1)) from cities located in the estuary's basin. However, due to the smaller area of aquaculture (2,010 ha), total annual loads are much lower than from these other sources (75 and 150 kg year(-1), respectively). Since shrimp farming effluents are released directly into the estuary, the estimated high EF raises environmental concerns with this expanding industry, suggesting the inclusion of this element in ongoing environmental monitoring programs.