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MADISON — Updated fish consumption advice for 2014 is now available from the DNR’s “Eating Your Catch” website.
For the annual update, advice has been modified for some fish species anglers may catch from several lakes and rivers. While some updates suggest improved conditions in fish contamination, advice for fish at a few locations became slightly more stringent due to the recent or additional results that are considered along with data from recent years.
“The good news this year is brown trout from Lake Michigan and chinook salmon from Green Bay may now be eaten safely at a rate of one meal per month” says Candy Schrank, Department of Natural Resources toxicologist who coordinates fish consumption advice. “A recent study determined that PCB concentrations in chinook and coho salmon from Lake Michigan declined during the period from 1975 to 2010. Also, we relaxed the advice for the Sugar Camp Chain of Lakes and now the statewide general advisory may be followed for eating fish from those lakes.”
Minor changes – including both more and less stringent advice – apply to some species from several inland lakes in Ashland, Iron, Langlade, Sawyer, and Vilas Counties and also for some species from parts of the Menominee River, Lake Winnebago system, St. Croix and Wisconsin Rivers. For example, men and older women may now safely eat channel catfish from the Lake Winnebago system once per week; and all people may eat carp from the Wisconsin River downstream of Petenwell Dam once per month compared to not at all.
More stringent advice applies to one or more species from Lake Three in Ashland County, Deep Wood Lake in Langlade County, Upper Holly in Sawyer County and Virgin Lake in Oneida County. And, people are now advised to eat no more than one meal per month of carp from the Portage Canal near Portage in Columbia County.
There is no change to advice for fish from several inland lakes and for fish from Cedar Creek in Ozaukee County, where sediment remediation efforts continue.
DNR, in consultation with the Department of Health Services, examines new contaminant data obtained each year at a subset of Wisconsin’s waters, along with that from recent years, to re-evaluate the fish consumption advice. The 2014 fish consumption advisory updates reflect new data on contaminant levels for 61 locations, some of which were analyzed by the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission. Most Wisconsin waters are covered by the statewide general advisory and only 145 locations carry more specific, stringent advice due to higher contaminant levels in fish.
Dr. Henry Anderson, chief medical officer of the Department of Health Services, urges anglers to check the 2014 advice to see if there have been any changes for the waters they like to fish but to also consider advice for purchased fish that is eaten. FDA is considering modifications to the advice for purchased fish that are primarily from oceans or fish farms. See FDA’s website for further information: www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm110591.htm.
Fish are a low-cost source of lean protein, minerals and vitamins, but people need to be aware of the kinds of fish they eat and where they come from, Anderson says. “We are collecting information on the levels of healthy fats contained in fish and found that one to two meals of fish per week are sufficient to obtain health benefits, provided fish low in contaminants are selected.”
Choose Wisely: A Health Guide for Eating Fish in Wisconsin is available online as a pamphlet. The FIND ADVICE search tool is now mobile friendly and allows anglers to select the county and location they fish to see the specific consumption advice for that water. Further information on Wisconsin’s fish consumption advice can be found by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for “eating your catch.”
Printed copies of the pamphlet will be available at DNR service centers and regional offices.