Mercury and cadmium concentrations were measured in the flesh and liver (or hepatopancreas) of albacore (Thunnus alalunga) and horned octopus (Eledone moschata) to establish whether the concentrations exceeded the maximum levels fixed by the European Commission. In both species, mercury and cadmium mean concentrations were higher in liver (albacore: mercury = 2.41 microg g(-1) wet wt, cadmium = 9.22 microg g(-1) wet wt; horned octopus: mercury = 0.76 microg g(-1) wet wt, cadmium = 6.72 microg g(-1) wet wt) than in flesh (albacore: mercury = 1.56 microg g(-1) wet wt, cadmium = 0.05 microg g(-1) wet wt; horned octopus: mercury = 0.36 microg g(-1) wet wt, cadmium = 0.33 microg g(-1)). Mercury concentrations exceeding the prescribed legal limit of 1 microg g(-1) wet wt were found in almost all albacore samples (flesh: 71.4%; liver: 85.7%). For horned octopus, concentrations above 0.5 microg g(-1) wet wt were observed solely in hepatopancreas, while in flesh, the concentrations were below this limit in all the samples examined. Of the flesh samples of albacore, 42.8% exceeded the proposed tolerance for cadmium for human consumption, whilst for horned octopus, the established limit was not exceeded in any sample.