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Pennsylvania Issues Updated Fish Consumption Advisories for 2012
February 23, 2012
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HARRISBURG, Pa. – State officials today released an updated list of fish consumption advisories that adds three new advisories, increases the restrictions on one advisory and eases or lifts four other advisories.

The new list also changes the segment description on five existing advisories and clarifies that harvesting live mussels and clams in Pennsylvania is now prohibited, which affects the existing one-meal-per-month advisory for Corbicula, or Asiatic clam, on the Schuylkill River.

The annual 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. They apply only to fish caught recreationally and not 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 Mike Krancer said. “At-risk groups and those who regularly eat sport fish are most susceptible to contaminants that can build up in fish over time, so they should space out fish meals according to these advisories and in consultation with their physician.”

“Pennsylvania’s fish consumption message is consistent with the story being told throughout the country—eat fish, but choose wisely,” PFBC Executive Director John Arway said. “Pennsylvania’s waters offer a bounty of clean, safe fish for people to eat. The information provided today helps guide consumers when they are making their choices.”

All of Pennsylvania remains under a blanket advisory that recommends limiting consumption of any recreationally caught fish to one meal per week. This is designed to protect against eating large amounts of fish from waters that have not been tested, 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.

While fish can be part of a healthy, balanced diet, some fish caught in Pennsylvania may contain chemicals of concern, such as mercury and Polychlorinated Biphenyls, or PCBs. These contaminants are found in some waterways because of their use in industry before many environmental regulations existed.

Consumers can reduce their 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.

For more information on fish consumption advisories and the most current advisories, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: “Fish Advisories,” or www.fish.state.pa.us, keyword “Fish Advisories.”

Media contacts: 
Amanda Witman, DEP; 717-787-1323
Christine Cronkright, Dept. of Health; 717-787-1783
Eric Levis, Fish & Boat Commission; 717-705-7806
Samantha Krepps, Dept. of Agriculture; 717-787-5085

Editor’s Note: This is a summary of changes to the 2012 fish consumption advisories:

Advisories added due to mercury contamination:

  • French Creek – From the confluence of Mill Creek at Utica to the mouth of the creek in Venango County, add a two-meals-per-month advisory for walleye.
  • Tunungwant Creek – From the confluence of the East and West Branches to the New York border in McKean County, add a two-meals-per-month advisory for all suckers.

Advisories added due to PCB contamination:

  • Allegheny River – In pools 3, 4 and 5—Lock and Dam 3 to Lock and Dam 6 in Armstrong County—add a one-meal-per-month advisory for carp.

Advisories eased:

  • West Branch Brandywine Creek – From Route 30 in Coatesville to the confluence of Buck Run in Chester County, change from six meals per year to one meal per month for American eel due to PCB contamination.

Advisories lifted:

  • Big Elk Creek – From the confluence of East and West Branches to the Maryland border in Chester County, remove the two-meals-per-month advisory due to mercury for American eel.
  • Loyalsock Creek – From the confluence of Little Loyalsock Creek at Forksville to the mouth of the creek in Sullivan and Lycoming counties, remove the two-meals-per-month advisory due to mercury for smallmouth bass.
  • Thorn Creek – From the source to the Route 2012 bridge at Frazier Mill in Butler County, remove the two-meals-per-month advisory due to mercury for trout.

Advisories made more restrictive:

  • Beaver River – From the confluence of Mahoning and Shenango rivers to New Brighton Dam in Lawrence and Beaver counties, change the advisory from six meals per year to Do Not Eat for carp and channel catfish due to PCB contamination.

Advisories where the segment description is changed:

  • Red Clay Creek – Change “entire basin” to now exclude the West Branch Red Clay Creek tributary in Chester County for the existing one-meal-per-month advisory for American eel due to PCB contamination.
  • Schuylkill River – Change the current start of the segment from “Felix Dam above Reading” to now start at the Confluence of Maiden Creek, but still extend to Black Rock Dam above Phoenixville in Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties for the six-meals-per-year advisory for carp and channel catfish due to PCB contamination.
  • Schuylkill River – Change the current start of the segment from “Felix Dam above Reading” to now start at the Confluence of Maiden Creek, but still extend to Fairmont Dam in Berks, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties for the Do Not Eat advisory for American eel and the one-meal-per-month advisory for all suckers due to PCB contamination.
  • Brokenstraw Creek – Change the current start of the segment from “Confluence of Little Brokenstraw Creek” to “Hare Creek” to the mouth of Brokenstraw Creek in Warren County for the two-meals-per-month advisory for all suckers due to mercury.
  • Monongahela River – Change the end of the segment for “Point Marion Lock and Dam to Grays Landing” to now end at the Maxwell Lock and Dam in Fayette and Greene counties for the one-meal-per-month advisory for carp due to PCB contamination.
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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 fishandboat.com.
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