Organochlorines in common dolphins caught in shark nets during the Natal ‘sardine run’
The concentrations of organochlorines were determined in blubber and liver samples from common dolphins inhabiting the coastal waters of the south-east coast of southern Africa. Liver levels of PCBs and DDTs are far lower and do not appear directly associated with those in blubber. In males, blubber residue concentrations increased with age but in females a marked rapid decline in concentrations of PCBs and t-DDT was evident between the eighth and eleventh growth layer groups, approximately the age of sexual maturity and subsequent to their first or second ovulation. Lower levels in females are explained through transfer to the new-born calf during lactation and the consequences of this for the newborn calf are discussed.