Over the past two decades, the coastal waters of Jinhae Bay have been extensively used by coastal communities and industries for the disposal of domestic and various industrial wastes, therefore increasing the level of pollutants in coastal waters with a subsequent increase in sediments, especially of heavy metals.

Specific objectives of this research are to investigate the distribution of heavy metal concentration in biota, to compare the concentrations with those in sediment and water and to relate the bioconcentration to the different heavy metals in biota obtained from several sites.

Sixty one percent of heavy metals was found in particulate form during the high runoff season and 32% during the dry season. The behavior of the particulate metals after flowing in to the enclosed coastal sea is an important factor in heavy metal contamination.

Copper, lead and chromium contamination of sediment was revealed at several sites. The bioconcentration factors (BCFs) of zinc, cadmium, copper, nickel, chromium and lead by the mussel (Mytilus edulis) were determined as 2,900, 2,814, 807, 423, 228 and 127 in the decreasing order, respectively.

The areas located nearest to highly populated city and industries exhibited mussels with the largest accumulation of copper, lead and chromium.