Fish Consumption Advisory Guidelines Updated

Several New Changes to 2016 Guidelines

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 17, 2016)— The statewide fish consumption advisory has been revised due to levels of mercury found in fish samples from Kentucky waters, the Kentucky Departments for Public Health, Environmental Protection, and Fish and Wildlife Resources announced today.

Fish consumption advisories are intended to advise the public of potential adverse health problems that may result from eating fish caught from a particular area. An advisory does not ban eating fish; it is a guide to help citizens reduce risk and make informed decisions about eating fish from Kentucky waters.

“We want Kentuckians to be informed about any potential danger or ill effects that could result from the food they consume – and that includes fish caught locally in our rivers, streams and lakes,” said Kathy Fowler, director of the DPH Division of Public Health Safety. “Contaminants, like mercury, can be harmful to the brain and nervous system if a person is exposed to too much of them. We ask that Kentuckians be mindful of the kinds and amounts of fish they consume, particularly more sensitive populations such as infants, young children and pregnant women.”

Mercury occurs naturally and can also be released to the environment through many types of human activity. It can collect in streams and lakes where it is converted into methylmercury in the sediment.  Once converted, methylmercury is absorbed by small organisms such as bacteria and plankton, which are then consumed by larger organisms progressing up the food chain to predatory fish such as largemouth bass, walleye and musky.

According to 2009 United States Environmental Protection Agency document “The National Study of Chemical Residues in Lake Fish Tissue”, mercury has been found in fish in all states including Kentucky.  Kentucky’s average mercury concentration in fish tissue is similar to national levels.

Kentucky consumption advisories are developed based on the USEPA document “Guidance for Assessing Chemical Contaminant Data for Use in Fish Tissue Advisories” which outlines risk based consumption limits for methylmercury. Consumption advisories do not affect those who swim, ski or boat in Kentucky waters.

New Fish Consumption Advisories: 2016

The new guidance below applies to specific groups of fish from all Kentucky waters:

 

Location Species General Population Sensitive Population Contaminant
Statewide Predatory fish 1 meal per month 6 meals per year Mercury
Statewide Bottom feeder fish and Panfish 1 meal per week 1 meal per month Mercury

 

Sensitive Populations: Women of childbearing age and children 6 years and younger are advised to eat no more than six meals per year of predatory fish and no more than one meal per month of panfish and bottom feeder fish.  The general public is advised to eat no more than one meal per month of predatory fish and no more than one meal per week of panfish and bottom feeder fish.

Note: one meal is considered to be an 8 oz serving for a 150 pound person.

 Predatory fish include: Bowfin, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Largemouth Bass, White Bass and Striped Bass and their hybrids, Yellow Bass, Flathead Catfish, Blue Catfish, Musky, Sauger and Walleye and their hybrids, Chain Pickerel and all Gars.

 Panfish include: Rock Bass, Green Sunfish, Longear Sunfish, Redear Sunfish, Bluegill and Crappie species.

 Bottom feeder fish include: Bullhead species, Drum, Carp Sucker, White Sucker, Common Carp, Northern Hog Sucker, Channel Catfish, Buffalo species, Spotted Sucker, Redhorse species, Shovelnose Sturgeon and Creek Chub.

Current Standing Individual Fish Consumption Advisories

A more restrictive guidance for fish consumption is recommended for these waterbodies in Kentucky:

 

Waterbody Location Species General Population Sensitive Population Contaminant
Drakes Creek W. Fork at Franklin, KY downstream to confluence All fish No Consumption No Consumption PCB
Little Bayou Creek McCracken County All fish No Consumption No Consumption PCB
Mud River Hancock Lake Dam to Wolf Lick Creek Bottom feeder fish No Consumption No Consumption PCB
Mud River Hancock Lake Dam to Wolf Lick Creek Predatory fish/Panfish 1 meal per month 6 meals per year PCB
Mud River Wolf Lick Creek to the Green River Bottom feeder fish 1 meal per month 6 meals per year PCB
Mud River Wolf Lick Creek to the Green River Predatory fish/Panfish 1 meal per week 1 meal per month PCB
11 Logan County All fish No Consumption No Consumption PCB
Metropolis Lake McCracken County All fish No Consumption No Consumption PCB
Knox Creek Pike County Flathead Catfish No Consumption No Consumption PCB
Knox Creek Pike County Bottom feeder fish 6 meals per year No Consumption PCB
Knox Creek Pike County Predatory fish 1 meal per month 6 meals per year PCB
Knox Creek Pike County Panfish 1 meal per month 6 meals per year PCB/Mercury
Green River Lake Lake-wide Bottom feeder fish 1 meal per month 6 meals per year PCB/Mercury
Fishtrap Lake VA/KY state line to Dam Predatory fish 1 meal per week 1 meal per month PCB
Fishtrap Lake VA/KY state line to dam Bottom feeder fish/White bass 1 meal per month 6 meals per year PCB
Fish Lake Ballard County Bottom feeder fish 1 meal per month 6 meals per year Mercury
Western KY Wildlife Management Area McCracken County All fish No Consumption No Consumption Mercury

 It should be noted that this advisory uses criteria that are more stringent than the FDA action level of 1 ppm methyl mercury in the edible portion of fish (fresh, frozen or processed). The FDA’s jurisdiction in setting action levels is limited to contaminants in food shipped and marketed in interstate commerce, not food that is caught locally by recreational or subsistence fishers. Less than 1 percent of the fish sampled in Kentucky for this study exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) action levels for commercial fish sold in grocery stores or restaurants.

 Note: Ohio River advisories issued by ORSANCO (Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission)  http://216.68.102.178/comm/fishconsumption/default.asp

 For more information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) visit:

Kentucky Division of Water

http://water.ky.gov/waterquality/Pages/FishConsumption.aspx

 Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

http://fw.ky.gov/Fish/Pages/Fish-Consumption-Advisories.aspx

 The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state’s human services and healthcare programs, including the Department for Medicaid Services, the Department for Community Based Services the Department for Public Health and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full- and part-time employees located across the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.

 

 

 

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