Utah added three new waterbodies to its Mercury Fish Consumption Advisory list this week after officials found elevated levels of mercury in fish tissue at Causey Reservoir, Minersville Reservoir, and Navajo Lake.
New to the list are:
- Brown trout at Causey
- Wiper at Minersville
- Splake trout at Navajo Lake
Why does DEQ test fish?
We test fish from lakes, rivers, and streams in Utah to make sure the fish you catch are safe to eat. Contaminants get into fish through the plants and animals that they eat., and some of these chemicals remain in the body of the fish. Older and larger fish have eaten more and been in the water longer, so there may be more contaminants in their bodies. When you eat these fish, the contaminants get into your body, too.
What is a fish advisory?
The Utah Department of Health looks closely at the data from our sampling and issues fish consumption advisories. These advisories outline recommendations for limiting intake of specific fish at specific locations.
Fish advisories give you information to help you decide where to fish, which fish to keep, and how much fish to eat. An advisory will list a lake, stream, or river and will list the types of fish that are unsafe in that area. Many lakes, streams, and rivers in Utah do not have advisories. Not all types of fish are unsafe where there is an advisory. Only limit your intake of the fish listed on the advisory.
Any health risks associated with eating fish from the fish advisory areas are based on long-term consumption and are not tied to eating fish occasionally. Eating fish remains an important part of a healthy diet. The American Heart Association recommends that individuals eat at least two fish or seafood meals weekly.
Can I recreate at these locations?
There is no health risk associated with mercury in the water for other uses of the waterways, such as swimming, boating, water skiing, and even recreational fishing.
How can I reduce the health risks from contaminated fish?
You can reduce the health risks from eating any type of fish by following these tips:
- Do not eat more than the amount of fish recommended by the fish consumption advisories.
- Eat fish from lakes and rivers that do not have advisories.
- Eat smaller fish and smaller amounts of fish.
- Eat different types of fish instead of just one type.
- Enjoy fishing by catching then releasing the fish instead of eating them.
Remember: You cannot remove mercury or arsenic by any special cleaning or cooking methods. This is because mercury and arsenic are stored in the meat of the fish and not the in the fat or skin.