Metal concentrations and speciation in fish from the Far North of Ontario; implications for subsistence consumption and the Ring of Fire development

Locally-caught freshwater fish is a healthy and important source of protein, especially for First Nation peoples living in remote communities across northern Ontario, where access to affordable fresh produce is limited. However, some of these fish have elevated concentrations of chromium (Cr), a potentially toxic metal that is abundant in the surrounding bedrock. Not all forms of Cr, however, are toxic to humans and the main goal of our study is to develop a method to differentiate the begin form of Cr (Cr3) from the toxic form (Cr6). In collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada, we will investigate how Cr3 and Cr6 concentrations differ between fish species (e.g., whitefish vs. walleye) and among lakes and rivers across northern Ontario. This information will help refine consumption advisories and can be used by companies planning mining activities in the “Ring-of-Fire”, a mineral-rich region in northern Ontario, to monitor environmental impacts.

Faculty Supervisor:

John Gunn


Gretchen Lescord


Wildlife Conservation Society Canada




Environmental industry




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