The organotin (OT) compounds tributyltin (TBT) and triphenyltin (TPhT) are potent biocides that have been used ubiquitously in antifouling paints and pesticides since the mid-1970s. These biocides are extremely toxic to marine life, particularly marine gastropod populations. The European Union therefore took measures to reduce the use of TBT-based antifouling paints on ships and ultimately banned these paints in 2003. Despite sufficient data on OT concentrations in marine gastropods, data are scarce for other species such as the North Sea brown shrimp (Crangon crangon), a dominant crustacean species in North Sea inshore benthic communities. The present study provides the first spatial overview of OT concentrations in North Sea brown shrimp. We have compared these data with historical concentrations in shrimp as well as with sediment concentrations. We have also addressed the effect on the shrimp stock and any human health risks associated with the OT concentrations found. TBT and TPhT in shrimp tail muscle ranged from 4 to 124 and from 1 to 24 mu g kg(-1) DW, respectively. High levels are accumulated in estuarine areas and are clearly related with sediment concentrations (biota-sediment accumulation factor similar to 10). Levels have decreased approximately 10-fold since the ban took effect, coinciding with a recovery of the shrimp stock after 30 years of gradual regression. Furthermore, the OT levels found in brown shrimp no longer present a human health risk. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.