-- State officials responsible for monitoring Pennsylvania waterways and protecting public health today
released an updated list of fish consumption advisories. The advisories are developed through a partnership
of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the departments of Environmental Protection, Agriculture
and Health. “Pennsylvania’s
fish advisory message is consistent with the story being told throughout the country – eat fish, but choose wisely,” PFBC
Executive Director Dr. Douglas Austen said. “Pennsylvania’s waters offer a bounty of clean, safe fish for
people to eat. The information provided in our advisory serves to guide consumers about their choices.”
recreationally caught sport fish in Pennsylvania are subject to a one-meal-per-week consumption advisory.
This blanket advisory is designed to protect the general population, especially pregnant women, women
of childbearing years, and young children. One meal is considered to be one-half pound of fish for a 150-pound
person. The advisories do not apply to fish raised for commercial purposes or bought in stores or restaurants. “Enjoying
outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania’s
beautiful countryside is a great pastime and it’s important to our tourism industry,” said DEP Secretary
Kathleen A. McGinty. “No one should be discouraged from fishing or eating fresh fish in moderation. We just want
to make sure anglers have the most up-to-date information when they fish Pennsylvania’s waterways.” Five
advisories have been modified this year, including:
- A two-meals-per-month advisory for largemouth bass, which
was due to mercury contamination, has been lifted for Presque Isle Bay in Erie County.
- A one-meal-per-month
advisory for walleye, due to polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB, contamination for the Allegheny River
from the confluence of Sandy Creek to the confluence of Witherup Run at St. George in Allegheny County,
has been replaced. There is now a two-meals-per-month advisory, also for walleye, but due to mercury
one-meal-per-month mercury advisory has been modified to a two-meals-per-month advisory for smallmouth
bass in the Tioga River from the confluence of Crooked Creek to the Pennsylvania/New York border
in Tioga County.
do-not-eat advisory for channel catfish, due to PCB contamination, has been modified to a one-meal-per-month
advisory in the Monongahela River from Lock and Dam 2 to the Point in Pittsburgh in Allegheny County.
one-meal-per-month advisory has also been modified to a two-meals-per-month advisory for smallmouth
bass, due to mercury contamination, in French Creek from the Pennsylvania/New York border to the
mouth in Erie, Crawford, Mercer and Venango counties.
State officials issued the following new advisories:
one-meal-per-month advisory for brown trout, due to PCB contamination, in the Yellow Breeches Creek
from the State Route 3017 bridge at Huntsdale to the confluence of Spruce Run in Cumberland County.
one-meal-per-month advisory for smallmouth bass, due to mercury contamination, in the Chemung River
from the New York/Pennsylvania border to the mouth of the river in Bradford County.
- A six-meals-per-year
advisory for smallmouth bass, due to PCB contamination, in Chartiers Creek from the PA Route 980
Bridge in Canonsburg to the mouth in Washington and Allegheny counties, and in Little Chartiers Creek
from Canonsburg Lake Dam to the mouth, in Washington County.
PCBs are a group of chemicals used prior
to the 1970s in a variety of industrial and electrical products, such as capacitors, transformers,
turbines, hydraulic fluids and lubricants. Even though the manufacture of these chemicals was discontinued
more than 20 years ago, trace levels of PCBs remain in the environment. In fish, PCBs accumulate in
fatty tissues. Mercury is emitted into the air primarily by industrial sources, such as coal-fired power plants.
When mercury is washed from the air by rain into streams and lakes, it is transformed to a highly
toxic form that builds up in fish and bioaccumulates as it moves through the food chain. Individuals
are then exposed to mercury through fish consumption. “When
properly prepared, fish provide a diet high in protein and low in saturated fats,” Health Secretary Dr. Calvin
B. Johnson said. “People can get the health benefits of eating fish and reduce exposure to organic contaminants
by properly cleaning, skinning, trimming and cooking the fish they eat.”
Proper preparation generally includes
trimming away fat and broiling or grilling the fish to allow remaining fat to drip away. Juices and
fats that cook out of the fish should not be eaten or reused for cooking or preparing other foods.
Mercury, however, collects in the fish’s
muscle and cannot be reduced by cleaning and cooking methods. In addition to the general statewide
advisory, Pennsylvania has four other categories of consumption advisories that can be issued if
test results suggest it: two meals per month; one meal per month; one meal every two months; or do
not eat. Current and updated advisories are published in the Summary of Fishing Regulations and Laws,
which is provided to each purchaser of a Pennsylvania fishing license. More information on fish consumption
advisories is available at www.fish.state.pa.us or www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Fish Advisories.