This report is part of a research project in the framework of the Norwegian-Russian Environmental Cooperation, which was initiated in 1991 to elucidate the present status of environmental contaminants in the highly sensitive Arctic aquatic ecosystem, with special focus on sea birds. Although these ecosystems are the least polluted areas in the world, they are contaminated. The main pathways of contamination into Arctic and sub-Arctic marine ecosystems are atmospheric transport, ocean currents and rivers and in some areas, dumping and ship accidents. A literature survey reveals: (1) there is a lack of data from several trophic levels, (2) previous data are difficult to compare with recent data because of increased quality requirement, (3) not much has been done to investigate the effects of contaminants on the cellular level, at individual or population levels. 389 refs., 7 figs., 32 tabs.