Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Updated fish consumption advice available for 2009

New video, and Hmong, Spanish language guides available

MADISON – Updated fish consumption advice, new materials in Hmong and Spanish, and a new video are now available online to help anglers enjoy eating their catch while limiting their exposure to environmental contaminants.

“Fish are a low-cost meal and are rich in vitamins and minerals, but you need to be aware of the kinds and sizes of fish you eat and where they come from,” says Candy Schrank, the Department of Natural Resources toxicologist who coordinates the fish consumption advisories that DNR and the Department of Health Services update and issue every year.

“Choose wisely: A health guide for eating fish in Wisconsin” will help anglers balance their consumption of store bought and locally caught fish with guidelines on intake of mercury and PCBs, two environmental contaminants that accumulate in fish across the country and can cause health problems for people who eat too many fish with high contaminant levels.

“People who aren’t familiar with the advice should read our “Choose wisely” pamphlet carefully, and those who are should see if their favorite fishing spot is on a list of waters with higher contaminant levels or if there have been any changes in consumption advice.”

Printed copies of the fish consumption advisory are available at DNR offices as well.

All state waters are covered by the same general consumption advice. On 148 waters, people are advised to further limit their consumption of fish because higher levels of mercury and PCBs have been found in fish from those waters, Schrank says.

More materials available for non-English speaking anglers

Brochures describing the general consumption advice that applies to all waters are now available online on the DHS web pages and also on DNR fish consumption advisory web pages.

Dr. Henry Anderson, chief medical office of the Department of Health Services, said the new materials aim to reach out to Hmong and Spanish (both links exit DNR; PDFs) speaking residents who eat sport fish. Surveys have shown a lower awareness of the fish consumption advisory among those groups.

“We’ve added two new guides in Hmong and Spanish to better reach their anglers and their families with important information about eating the fish they catch,” he says.

Find more information on the Department of Health Services Eating Safe Fish web pages. []

Mostly minor changes in advice for 2009, but four lakes added to special advice list

The 2009 updated fish consumption advisory reflects results from recent fish sampling from 96 waterbodies conducted by the DNR and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and analysis of those results by DNR and DHS toxicologists. Most of the results resulted in minor changes to consumption advice, but four new lakes were added to the list of those with specific consumption advice because of higher levels of mercury. Those lakes are Tug Lake in Lincoln County and Big Fork, Island, and Planting Ground lakes of the Three Lakes Chain in Oneida County.

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