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- Ane Eide Kjæraas

Seafood warning withdrawn

Collating survey results obtained since 2004 shows that mercury levels in marine life around the wrecked U-864 submarine are no different from those found along the rest of Norway’s coast.

Mattilsynet opphever nå advarselen mot sjømat fanget ved ubåtvraket U-864. (Illustrasjon: Kystverket/Marianne Henriksen)
Norwegian Food Safety Authorities withdrew its warning on seafood from the wreck area in June 2015. (Illustration by Marianne Henriksen, NCA)

As a result, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority revoked its warning that small children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should not eat seafood from the wreck area in June 2015.

The findings indicate that marine life has been little affected by metallic mercury escaping from the sunken World War II German vessel off Fedje in western Norway. One reason is thought to be that this substance has not been converted to harmful methylmercury, keeping it out of the food chain. The wreck lies at a depth of 160 metres, where organic activity is limited.


Norway’s National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (Nifes) has been sampling and analysing fish and shellfish caught around the U-864 for the past 11 years. It has now collated all the analysis results from these surveys, which show no signs that mercury from the local area has contaminated seafood to any noteworthy extent. Results secured from the wreck site and its neighbourhood are more or less identical with those obtained along the rest of the Norwegian coast.

   “Comparing the latest findings with 10 years of results show that seafood from the waters west of Fedje is safe,” says Lise Torkildsen, head of the food authority’s seafood section.

   “There’s no longer any need for the precautionary warning we’ve had for pregnant women, breastfeeders and small children. So we have withdrawn it.”

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