The activities of enzymes associated with xenobiotic metabolism and or oxidative processes, and the levels of aromatic DNA adducts, have been determined in the livers of grey mullet Oedalechilus labeo and Lisa ramada living in two eastern Mediterranean harbours. Glutathione peroxidase GSH P activity was 2.5 times higher 9 IU g-1 liver and glutathione reductase GSSG R activity was twice as high 2.5 IU g-1 liver in fish from the more polluted harbour at Mersin than in the harbour near Erdemli. Superoxide dismutase SOD activity was 25 lower 4.3 IU g-1 liver in the more polluted harbour. The concentrations of glutathione and malondialdehyde varied both with species and environment by a factor of 2.5-3. DNA adducts in liver were determined by 32P postlabelling. In Oedalechilus labeo in the more polluted harbour, adduct levels were 258 21 adducts per 108 nucleotides mean SE; two groups of Lisa ramada were distinguished having 261 48 and 30 6 adducts per 108 nucleotides, respectively. The average adduct level in a group of mullet of mixed species in the less polluted harbour was 3.3 2.3 adducts per 108 nucleotides. The results illuminate the ability of mullet to live in contaminated marine environments, and show that enzyme activities and liver DNA adduct levels can serve as indicators of marine pollution.