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MADISON — Updated fish eating guidance, Choose Wisely: A Health Guide for Eating Fish in Wisconsin, is now available online through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website.
Detailed information also is available through “Find Advice,” an online search tool that allows anglers to select their county and fishing spot to see local consumption advice. This year, the booklet takes a different format that is designed to show advice by area of the state to ease readers’ use.
For rivers where polychlorinated biphenyls build up in fish, new testing reconfirms current advisories with slight modifications for some species from Lake Superior, the St. Louis River, Green Bay and sections of the Fox, Menominee, Milwaukee and Mississippi Rivers and no change for other reaches. Advice for some inland waters, where mercury is the primary fish contaminant, was also updated. Fish consumption advice varies by location and species of fish and ranges from unrestricted or one serving per week to “do not eat.”
DNR, in consultation with the Department of Health Services, examines contaminant results for fish samples obtained each year at a subset of Wisconsin’s waters, along with data from recent years, to re-evaluate fish consumption advice.
The 2015 fish consumption advisory reflects new results for fish collected mostly in 2013 from 45 inland lakes, river reaches and lakes Superior and Michigan and also considers results from bordering states and the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission as well as DNR.
Most waters in the state are covered by general statewide advice. In 2015, the number of waters that carry more specific, stringent advice due to higher contaminant levels in some species from those waters is 146.
Candy Schrank, the DNR toxicologist who coordinates the fish contaminant monitoring and advisory program, urges anglers to check the 2015 advice to see if there have been any changes to the advice for those waters they fish frequently.
“Our sampling efforts at times do result in changed advice and we work hard to make that information easily accessible to anglers,” Schrank said.
Dr. Henry Anderson, chief medical officer of the Department of Health Services, noted that fish are a low-cost, low-fat source of protein, minerals and vitamins, but that people need to be aware of the kinds of fish they eat and where the fish come from.
“By following Wisconsin’s fish consumption advice, you can enjoy the fun of fishing as well as obtain the health benefits that come from eating fish. If you eat fish, you should make sure to follow the fish eating guidance and advisories that will help you to reduce your exposure to environmental contaminants that can build up in fish,” Anderson said.
For more information search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords “eating your catch.” Printed copies of the booklet will also be available at DNR service centers and regional offices.