Jinzhou Bay in Bohai, Northern China, is historically contaminated with metals, but the organisms living in such contaminated environments are much less well studied. In this study, we contrasted the different subcellular and detoxification responses of polychaetes, bivalves and fish collected from different contaminated sites in Jinzhou Bay. In polychaete Neanthes japonica, metal-rich granule (MRG) was the main biologically detoxified metal compartment, and metallothionein-like protein (MTLP) detoxified a relatively smaller fraction of accumulated metals. The importance of MRG increased whereas that of MTLP decreased with increasing metal bioaccumulation. Detoxification in the two bivalves was similar to that in the polychaetes. However, the MRG appeared to play only a minor role in metal binding and detoxification in the gills and livers of fish, whereas MTLP was the dominating detoxification pool. Cellular debris was an important pool binding with metals in the three marine animals. Our study highlighted the contrasting cellular binding and detoxification among different marine organisms living in contaminated environments.