October 1, 2008

State Issues Advisories on Eating Fish

Six popular fishing areas in Utah now have fish-consumption advisories because of concerns about mercury.

The advisory released Tuesday by the Utah Department of Health says that since 2000, fish have been tested for the heavy metal in 261 bodies of water statewide, including 192 streams and rivers and 69 lakes and reservoirs. Of those, 15 had elevated levels of mercury, and advisories have been issued for them.

In all cases where high levels of mercury have been found, pregnant women and children should not eat the fish that are listed. And adults should not consumer more than two 8-ounce meals a month unless otherwise noted.

The new fish advisories are:

-- Jordanelle Reservoir (Wasatch County) -- smallmouth bass

-- Porcupine Reservoir (Cache County) -- brown trout, one meal a month

-- Sand Hollow Reservoir (Washington County) -- largemouth bass

-- Rock Creek, below Upper Stillwater Reservoir (Duchesne County) -- brown trout 12-inches and larger

-- East Fork Sevier River, between Otter Creek and Piute Reservoirs (Piute County) -- brown trout

-- Pine Creek (Garfield County) -- brown trout

As part of the ongoing water quality investigation, the following five water bodies were re-evaluated. Revised fish advisories include:

-- Joe's Valley Reservoir (Emery County) -- splake trout that are 12 inches and larger, one 8-ounce meal a month

-- Newcastle Reservoir (Iron County) -- rainbow trout, one meal

-- Upper Enterprise Reservoir (Washington County) -- rainbow trout, one meal

-- Weber River near Morgan (Morgan County) -- brown trout

-- Calf Creek (Garfield County) -- brown trout, limit two 4- ounce meals a month

An 8-ounce meal is the size of two decks of playing cards. According to an analysis completed by the health department, eating more than these amounts over a long period of time could result in an intake of mercury that exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency health recommendations.

The advisories are a partnership between the Utah departments of Health, Environmental Quality and Natural Resources. For more information, visit www.fishadvisories.utah.gov.

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