In 2020, the OSPAR Working Group on Monitoring and on Trends and Effects of Substances in the Marine Environment (MIME) initiated the pilot CONnECT (CONtaminants of Emerging Concern and Threat in the marine environment) project in collaboration with the NORMAN Association. Environmental Institute (EI) has been assigned to organise a specialized package of services, comprising screening of several thousands of organic pollutants and their transformation products by wide-scope target (>2,400 substances) and suspect (>65,000 substances) screening methodologies. For this purpose, 52 samples including biota (mainly molluscs and fish) and sediments from 11 different OSPAR contracting parties were delivered to the Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA). The organic contaminants were extracted from the matrices following generic analytical protocols and the final extracts were analyzed by complementary HRMS techniques. The detected organic pollutants were prioritised on the basis of their frequency of occurrence in the samples and exceedance of ecotoxicological threshold values. The above services are being increasingly recognized by the EU and regional sea conventions as being of importance at identifying potentialcontaminant threats to the aquatic environment. In December 2020, OSPAR became an Associated Member of the NORMAN Assocation. The CONnECT project is a part of wider collaboration programme between the OSPAR and NORMAN network.
Within the context of the CONnECT project, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat; the Netherlands) provided 9 biota samples (3 fish and 6 molluscs), sampled in 2020.