Total mercury was measured via thermal decomposition amalgamation atomic absorption spectroscopy in the muscle tissue of 82 swordfish originating in the Pacific Ocean and was found to range from 228 to 2,090 ppb. The relationships between total mercury concentration and the size of the fish (i.e., length and weight) were analyzed. It was found that dressed weight (DW) was a better predictor of mercury concentration than cleithrum-to-caudal keel length in a single variable model, and DW was the only significant predictor of mercury concentration in a multivariable model. Based on these relationships, swordfish with a DW greater than 96.4 kg (213 lb; 95% confidence interval, 88 to 107 kg [195 to 235 lb]) will exceed 1,000 ppb of mercury—the action level in the United States, Canada, and Europe—and should not be sold in commercial markets. Additionally, a logistic regression model was created to illustrate the probability of a swordfish at any DW being unsafe to consume (i.e., containing more than 1,000 ppb of mercury). In this model, the probability of a swordfish being unsafe exceeds the probability of being safe at 94.6 kg (209 lb). Taken together, the models presented in this report give regulators valuable postharvest tools to use for rapid determination of the safety of swordfish intended for sale in commercial markets.

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