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2008 Fish Consumption Advisories

by Bill Bailey

     

Updated on Wednesday*:

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Now that spring is in the air, many area residents are wetting a line in area streams and in other favorite fishing holes throughout West Virginia.

W.Va. Dept. of Natural Resources reports that the public fishing area and boat launch on Rt. 7 East of Grantsville is still open. Other areas along the riverbanks should only be fished with permission from land-owners.

The following information on fish consumption advisories was found on the State of West Virginia website:

The W.Va. Dept. of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) has updated the West Virginia sport fish consumption advisory for 2008. DHHR partners with W.Va. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Division of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop consumption advisories for fish caught in West Virginia.

Advisories are reviewed annually and help West Virginia anglers make educated choices about eating the fish they catch.

Certain West Virginia sport fish have been found to have low levels of chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury, selenium and dioxin. An advisory is advice, and should not be viewed as law or regulation.

It is intended to help anglers and their families make educated choices about where to fish, what types of fish to eat, how to limit the amount and frequency of fish eating, and how to prepare and cook fish to reduce contaminants.

This advisory covers sport fish caught in West Virginia waters. Safety regulations and advisories for fish in the market-place are the responsibility of the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

Data collected from lakes and rivers in West Virginia show the general statewide advisory of sport-caught fish. A review of this information indicates that mercury, PCBs, and dioxin are the chemicals of the greatest concern. For detailed information about these contaminants and the levels measured, consult www.wvdhhr.org/fish.

Changes to the current advisory are as follows: Consumption of rock bass statewide should be limited to two meals a month because of mercury.

Follow statewide consumption advisories for all sport fish from Mt. Storm Lake, Upper Mud Lake and Pinnacle Creek because of selenium. Limit consumption of black bass less than 12 inches in length from Sutton Lake to one meal a month because of mercury.

Limit consumption of smallmouth bass less than 12 inches in length from Greenbrier River and Fish Creek to one meal a month because of mercury. Limit consumption of sauger from Little Kanawha River to one meal a month because of mercury.

Meadow River rock bass are no longer listed as a site-specific advisory. Wheeling Creek has been removed from the site-specific list because smallmouth bass less than 12 inches long are managed as catch and release only.

Body weight and meal size are important factors in fish advisories. See the accompanying chart to define the size of meal that corresponds to your body weight. This advisory is designed to keep the amount of chemicals you eat at a safe level.

Women of childbearing age, children, and people who regularly eat fish are particularly susceptible to contaminants that build up over time. If you fall into one of these categories, you should be especially careful to follow the meal sizes and space fish meals out according to the advisory tables.

Your body can get rid of some contaminants over time. Spacing the meals out helps prevent the contaminants from building up to harmful levels in the body.

For example, if the fish you eat is in the “One Meal a Month” group, wait a month before eating another meal of fish from any restricted category. Occasionally eating fish in quantities slightly greater than the advisories recommend, such as during an annual fishing vacation, should not present a health hazard.

Fishing licenses may be purchased at www.wvfish.com (age 15 and younger fish for free). Check the daily trout stocking reports by calling 558-3399 or visit online www.wvdnr.gov.

Meal Size Chart 

 General Advisory

Specific Advisory

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