The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) are issuing revised fish consumption advisories for 2013. The advisories identify types of fish or other aquatic animals that should be eaten in limited quantities or, in some cases, avoided altogether because of contamination. General advice and internet resources are also provided to aid the public in making informed decisions regarding the benefits, as well as the risks associated with eating locally caught fish from Kansas waters.
Bottom-feeding fish: buffalo, carp, carpsuckers, catfish (except flathead catfish), sturgeons, and suckers.
Predatory fish: black bass, crappie, drum, flathead catfish, perch, sunfish, white bass, wiper, striper, walleye, saugeye, and sauger.
Shellfish: mussels, clams, and crayfish.
General population: Men and women 18 years of age or older.
Sensitive populations: Women who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are nursing and children age 17 or younger.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), perchlorate, chlordane, mercury, lead and cadmium: Toxic chemicals and heavy metals that pose serious health risks, particularly to fetuses and children. Developmental and neurological problems are some of the risks related to prolonged or repeated exposure.
Meal size (before cooking): Adults and children age 13 and older = 8 ounces; children age 6 to 12 = 4 ounces; children younger than 6 = 2 ounces.
Sensitive populations should restrict consumption of all types of locally caught fish, including species of fish and waters not specifically covered by an advisory to one meal per week because of mercury. Sensitive Populations should restrict consumption of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass (black bass) to one meal per month because of mercury. The general public should restrict consumption of these species to one meal per week because of mercury.
Do not eat bottom-feeding fish taken in the Kansas River from Lawrence (below Bowersock Dam) downstream to Eudora at the confluence of the Wakarusa River (Douglas and Leavenworth counties) because of PCBs. Do not eat any form of aquatic life, including fish and shellfish, taken from Horseshoe Lake located in units 22 and 23 of the Mined Lands Wildlife Area (Cherokee County) because of perchlorate. Do not eat shellfish taken in the Spring River from the confluence of Center Creek to the Kansas/Oklahoma border (Cherokee County) because of lead and cadmium. Do not eat shellfish taken in Shoal Creek from the Missouri/Kansas border to Empire Lake (Cherokee County) because of lead and cadmium. Do not eat bottom-feeding fish taken from Cow Creek in Hutchinson and downstream to the confluence with the Arkansas River (Reno County) because of PCBs. Do not eat bottom-feeding fish taken in the Arkansas River from the Lincoln Street Dam in Wichita downstream to the confluence with Cowskin Creek near Belle Plaine (Sedgwick and Sumner counties) because of PCBs.
Restrict consumption of all types of fish to one meal per month from the Little Arkansas River from the Main Street Bridge immediately west of Valley Center to the confluence with the Arkansas River in Wichita (Sedgwick County) because of mercury and PCBs.
Last year’s advisory for Blue River from U.S. 69 Highway to the Kansas/Missouri state line (Johnson County) has been rescinded. The one-meal-per-week advisory for all types of fish because of mercury has been superseded by the statewide mercury advisory for sensitive groups.
General advice for eating locally caught fish in Kansas
1. Sensitive populations should consider restricting their total mercury intake as related to both supermarket fish and locally caught species. Concerned parents and other persons may wish to consult with a physician about eating fish and mercury exposure.
2. Mercury exposure can be reduced by limiting the consumption of large predatory fish. Larger/older fish of all types are more likely to have higher concentrations of mercury.
3. Avoid the consumption of fish parts other than fillets, especially when eating bottom-feeding fish. Fatty internal organs tend to accumulate higher levels of fat-soluble contaminants such as chlordane and PCBs.
4. Consumers can reduce their ingestion of fat-soluble contaminants such as chlordane and PCBs by trimming fat from fillets, and cooking in a manner in which fat drips away from the fillet.
5. In water bodies where advisories or warnings related to harmful algae blooms have been applied, fish should be consumed in moderation and care taken to only consume skinless fillets. Avoid cutting into internal organs and as a precaution, rinse fillets with clean water prior to cooking or freezing.
For more information about KDHE’s Fish Tissue Contaminant Monitoring Program visit http://www.kdheks.gov/befs/fish_tissue_monitoring.htm
Image courtesy Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism