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Fish Advisories 2009 - 2010

pollution in river

Fish are an important part of a healthy diet, providing a lean, low-calorie source of protein. Fish are low in saturated fats and high in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces the risk of heart attack and lowers blood pressure. Fresh fish from local waters make a great meal; however, high levels of chemical contaminants like PCBs, dioxins, Mirex, DDT, and chlordane build up in fatty tissue posing serious health risks. Following NYS Health Advisories for fishing locations, species, and proper cooking and cleaning techniques reduce your exposure to contaminants.


New York State Department of Health Advisories include:

General Advisory: The St. Lawrence River (Whole River) PCBs, Mirex, and Dioxins. The general health advisory for sportfish is that you should eat no more than one meal (one-half pound) per week. Women of child-bearing age should not consume locally caught fish at all. Infants and children under age 15 should not eat any fish from listed waters.



Species
Do Not Consume
American eel
All
Channel catfish
All
Lake Trout
Over 25"
Carp
All
Brown Trout
Over 20"
Chinook Salmon
All


Local Advisories:

Grasse River (Mouth to
Massena Power Canal)
All species of fish are
considered hazardous and
none should be consumed due to
contamination with PCB’s.
Cove at Ahnawate Marina
(Raquette Point)
Massena Power Canal
(St. Lawrence Co.)
Smallmouth bass. Eat no more than one meal per month.
St. Lawrence River Smallmouth bass. Eat no more than two meals per month.

Click here for a report on contaminants in smallmouth bass.

General recommendations include:

  1. Consume younger,smaller fish (within legal limits). They usually contain fewer pollutants than older, larger fish.
  2. Avoid eating bottom fish such as catfish, carp, or sucker. They feed at the bottom of water bodies and are more likely to contain higher levels of chemical contamination.
  3. When you clean fish, remove the skin, fat, and internal organs before you cook it to reduce the amount of some pollutants. Grill, bake, or broil fish so that the fat drips off while cooking (see below).
  4. Remember that fresh meat should always be handled properly. To prevent the growth of bacteria or viruses, keep freshly caught fish on ice and out of direct sunlight.

Cleaning and Cooking Fish to Reduce Contaminants

Proper Cleaning Technique:

Proper Cleaning Technique

step one step two
1. First, cut fish along each gill behind fins. 2. Cut into belly, down along
both sides of lower fin and
remove lower fin.
step one step two
3. Cut into back, down along
both sides of upper fin and
remove by pulling fin from back.
4. Remove head and innards.
step one step two
5. Remove belly fat along with ribs and skin. 6. Cut away fatty tissue along mid-line.
step one
7. Filet is now ready to cook.

Can I cook my fish to reduce health risks from chemical pollutants?

Yes! The way you cook fish can make a difference in the kinds and amounts of chemical pollutants remaining in the fish. Fish should be properly prepared and grilled, baked, or broiled. By letting the fat drain away, you can remove some pollutants stored in the fatty parts of the fish; however, contaminants like mercury are stored in the meat and fat, and cannot be cooked off.


Downloads

Mercury Matters (pdf file)

Mercury Update (pdf file)

For additional information contact Tony David, Water Resources Program Manager at 518-358-5937