|Harrisburg, PA – State officials have released an updated list of fish consumption advisories that includes nine new advisories and also eases or lifts seven other advisories.
Advisories are developed through a partnership between the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and the state departments of Environmental Protection (DEP), Health, and Agriculture.
“Pennsylvania’s fish advisory message is consistent with the story being told throughout the country – eat fish, but choose wisely,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “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.”
The advisories are only for fish caught recreationally and do not apply to fish raised for commercial purposes or those bought in stores or restaurants.
“Consumption advisories are not intended to discourage anyone from fishing or eating fresh fish in moderation,” DEP Secretary John Hanger said. “However, at-risk groups and people who regularly eat sport fish are most susceptible to contaminants that can build up in fish over time and should space out fish meals according to these advisories, and in consultation with their physician.”
While fish can be part of a healthy, balanced diet, some fish caught in Pennsylvania may contain chemicals of concern such as mercury and PCBs. These contaminants exist in some waterways due to unregulated industrial practices of the past.
Consumers can reduce the potential risk of exposure to organic contaminants by properly cleaning, skinning, trimming and cooking fish. 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.
All of Pennsylvania remains under a blanket advisory that recommends limiting consumption of any recreationally-caught fish to one meal per week. This advisory is designed to protect against eating large amounts of fish from waters that have not been tested, or for certain species that have not been tested or fish that may contain other unidentified contaminants. One meal is considered to be one-half pound of fish for a 150-pound person.
For 2011, the following new advisories have been added due to mercury contamination:
- Two meals per month advisory for Smallmouth Bass in the Delaware River in Wayne, Pike, and Monroe counties;
- One meal per month advisory for Largemouth Bass in Shohola Lake in Pike County;
- Two meals per month advisory for Largemouth Bass in Lackawanna Lake in Lackawanna County;
- Two meals per month advisory for Largemouth Bass in Stephen Foster Lake in Bradford County;
- One meal per month advisory for Smallmouth Bass in the Susquehanna River in Bradford and Wyoming counties;
- Two meals per month advisory for Smallmouth Bass in the Allegheny River in Warren, Forest, and Venango counties;
- One meal per month advisory for Northern Pike in Conneaut Lake in Crawford County; and
- One meal per month advisory for Largemouth Bass in Crystal Lake in Crawford County.
One new advisory has been added due to PCB contamination:
- One meal per month advisory has been issued for Corbicula (Asiatic Clam) in the Schuylkill River in Chester, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties.
The following PCB advisories have been eased but not lifted:
- Carp in the Monongahela and the Ohio Rivers at the Point in Pittsburgh has been reduced to a one meal per month advisory;
- Channel Catfish in the Ohio River at the Point in Pittsburgh has been reduced to a one meal per month advisory;
- Brown Trout in Valley Creek in Chester County has been reduced to a one meal per month advisory. Note: Valley Creek remains a No Harvest – PFBC Catch and Release All Tackle Regulation.
Consumption advisories have been lifted for the following:
- Lackawanna Lake in Lackawanna County for Bluegill;
- West Conewago Creek in York County for Smallmouth Bass;
- Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers at the Point in Pittsburgh for Freshwater Drum;
- Licking Creek in Fulton and Franklin Counties for Smallmouth Bass.
More information on fish consumption advisories and the most current advisories are available online at www.depweb.state.pa.us, Keyword: “Fish Advisories” and http://www.fishandboat.com/fishpub/summary/sumconsumption.pdf.
The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
Department of Health
Department of Environmental Protection