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Health and Family Services Cabinet
State Agencies Issue Fish Consumption Advisories for 2008

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, September 10, 2008  
Contact Information:  Media Contact: Gwenda Bond or Vikki Franklin, CHFS
(502) 564-6786, ext. 3325 and 4012
Eric Eisiminger-Division of Water (502) 564-3410
Benjy Kinman, Fish and Wildlife Resources (502) 564-3596
 


State Agencies Issue Fish Consumption Advisories for 2008
 
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 9, 2008) – The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), the Division of Water and the Department for Fish and Wildlife Resources today issued fish consumption advisories for bodies of water in Kentucky.

These advisories are intended to inform the public about the possible risks of eating unrestricted amounts of some fish retrieved from Kentucky’s waterways. The advisories were issued due to elevated levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and mercury levels found in some species of fish sampled for these substances. 

“Women of childbearing age, children and people who consume a lot of fish in their diet are more susceptible to the ill effects of contaminants sometimes found in fish,” said William Hacker, M.D., DPH commissioner. “For this reason these individuals should follow the special population advisory.”

The increasing mercury problem is not just related to Kentucky. Many states are now discovering elevated mercury levels in fish tissue and are issuing fish consumption advisories to better inform the public of the potential risks of frequently eating fish associated with an advisory.

Most of the 2008 advisories either continue or modify existing fish consumption advisories issued from previous years. However, this year, three bodies of water are being added to the advisory list because of elevated mercury levels. They include:

− Lake Cumberland in Pulaski, Wayne, Russell and Clinton counties
− Guist Creek Lake in Shelby County
− Fish Lake in Ballard County

This risk-based advisory system allows our citizens to have the information needed in making good nutrition decisions,” said Guy Delius, acting director in the Division of Public Health Protection and Safety. “Fish are fun to catch, and many people now practice catch and release, which helps ensure our lakes and rivers have good populations of larger, higher quality fish. If you decide to keep and eat your catch, just keep in mind the frequency for consumption.

“Fish are a nutritious, low-fat food and good for you when eaten in moderation,” said Benjy Kinman, director of fisheries for Fish and Wildlife. “Cooking may reduce some contaminants in fish, but will not reduce mercury levels.”

The following are consumption precautions for various tested species in these bodies of water. Typically, if a species is not listed, this does not necessarily mean these other fish species are risk-free to consumers. Rather, it means there may not be data available for that particular species.

Lake Cumberland (New)
Lake Cumberland is approximately 47,680 acres and impounds the Cumberland River in south central Kentucky. This advisory is considered to be a lake-wide advisory and will include the waters from the confluence of Laurel River and Cumberland River to the Wolf Creek Dam on Lake Cumberland.
Fish Groups     Contaminant                     General Population      Sensitive Population
Black Bass              Mercury         1 meal/month                 6 meals/year
Crappie/Rock Bass       Mercury         1 meal/week                  1 meal/month

Guist Creek Lake (New)
Guist Creek Lake is approximately 321 acres and impounds Guist Creek and Tick Creek in Shelby County. This advisory is considered to be lake-wide from the headwaters of the lake to the dam.
Fish Groups      Contaminant         General Population     Sensitive Population
Black Bass      Mercury         1 meal per month        6 meals per year


Fish Lake (New)
Ballard Wildlife Management Areas, Fish Lake, is an approximately 30-acre natural lake in Ballard County. This advisory is considered to be a lake-wide from the headwaters of the lake to the outflow of Shawnee Creek.
Fish Group      Contaminant     General Population      Sensitive Population
Black Bass      Mercury 1 meal per month        6 meals per year
Suckers/Carp    Mercury 1 meal per month        6 meals per year

Green River Lake
Green River Lake is approximately 8,210 acres and impounds Robinson Creek and the Green River in Taylor and Adair counties. The current advisory for PCBs is lake-wide and lists channel catfish and common carp as “do not eat.” The advisory for both PCBs and mercury is considered lake-wide from the headwaters of the lake to the dam. Due to decreasing levels of PCBs in the Green River Lake, the advisory is modified from “do not eat” to one meal per month for the general population and six meals per year for the sensitive population. Channel Catfish are being removed from the PCB advisory.
Fish Group      Contaminant           General Population       Sensitive Population
Suckers/Carp       PCB                  1 meal per month        6 meals per year
Black Bass         Mercury              1 meal per month        6 meals per year
Catfish/Drum       Mercury              1 meal per month        6 meals per year

Knox Creek
There are approximately 7.8 miles of Knox Creek in Pike County. The headwaters of Knox Creek are located predominantly in Buchanan County, Va. Virginia issued a similar fish consumption advisory for its section of this creek. This fish consumption advisory will include all of Knox Creek from the Virginia-Kentucky state line to the Tug Fork River.
Fish Group         Contaminant(s)      General Population            Special Population
Black Bass                  PCB, Mercury          1 meal per month            6 meals per year Crappie/Rock Bass        PCB, Mercury       1 meal per month           6 meals per year Catfish/Drum             PCB                 6 meals per year          No Consumption Flathead Catfish   PCB, Mercury        No Consumption            No Consumption               

Fishtrap Lake
Fishtrap Lake is approximately 1,100 acres and impounds the Levisa Fork River in Pike County. This advisory will include the Levisa Fork River from the Kentucky-Virginia state line to the dam on Fishtrap Lake. Virginia issued a similar fish consumption advisory for a portion of the Levisa Fork River in its state.
Fish Groups         Contaminant(s)*     General Population              Special Population
Black Bass          PCB, Mercury        1 meal per week         1 meal per month       
White Bass          PCB, Mercury        1 meal per month                6 meals per year       
Catfish/Drum        PCB, Mercury        1 meal per month                6 meals per year       
Suckers/Carp     PCB, Mercury   1 meal per month                6 meals per year       
Flathead Catfish PCB, Mercury   1 meal per week         1 meal per month    

Neither of these contaminants is associated with the Consol Energy, Inc. brine discharge at Grundy, Va.


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Last Updated 9/10/2008