• 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 components: -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: "" [Summary provided by ICES]
  • Environmental Data Centre, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea