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Health and Family Services Cabinet
State Agencies Reissue Ohio Fish Consumption Advisories

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, May 30, 2007  
Contact Information:  Eric Eisiminger, Division of Water, (502) 564-3410
Benjy Kinman, Fish and Wildlife Resources, (502) 564-3596
Guy F. Delius, Department for Public Health, (502) 564-7398

The Kentucky Departments of Public Health, Environmental Protection and Fish and Wildlife today reissued fish consumption advisories for the Ohio River bordering Kentucky.
Flathead catfish in the river’s lower reach have now been added to the advisory list, which otherwise remains unchanged. These advisories are intended to inform the public about the possible risks of eating unrestricted amounts of some fish from the Ohio River.
People who frequently eat fish, women of childbearing age and children are particularly susceptible to contaminants that build up in the body (such as PCBs and mercury). For this reason these individuals should follow the special population advisory.
“It’s great to see that the levels of some contaminants have decreased to the point that many kinds of fish are now safer to eat at the advised frequency,” said William D. Hacker, M.D., Health and Family Services’ acting undersecretary for health and public health commissioner. “It appears as though the combined work of many is paying off, and we appear to be turning the corner and improving the condition of our river.”
The monitoring of tissue residue levels in fish from the Ohio River is an ongoing program of the state agencies and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO).
“Fish are fun to catch, and are a nutritious, low-fat food,” said Benjy Kinman, director of fisheries with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Our role is to educate the public about recommended amounts of certain fish they should consume so everyone can make informed decisions.”
To better protect the public, state scientists have developed a specific protocol to determine safety levels and risk for contaminants. States that border the commonwealth and the Ohio River have adopted these protocols as well.
Following are consumption precautions for various tested species in three areas (upper, middle and lower) of the Ohio River bordering Kentucky. If a species is not listed, this does not mean that the fish species has no level of risk to consumers. Rather, it means there is no data available for that particular species.

Upper Reach (Mouth of Big Sandy to Markland Dam )
Species                                                            General Population    Special Population
Paddlefish (and eggs)                                       6 meals / year           No consumption
Carp                                                                  1 meal / month          6 meals / year
Channel catfish-Greater than 21 inches            6 meals / year           No consumption
Channel catfish-Less than 21 inches                 1 meal / month          6 meals / year
Smallmouth buffalo                                            1 meal / month          6 meals / year
White bass                                                        1 meal / month          6 meals / year
Drum                                                                 1 meal / month           6 meals/ year
White crappie                                                    Unlimited                    1 meal / week
Hybrid striped bass                                          1 meal / month            6 meals / year
Sauger                                                             1 meal / week              1 meal / month
Flathead catfish                                               1 meal / week              1 meal / month
Black basses (largemouth, etc.)                      1 meal / week               1 meal / month

Middle Reach (Markland Dam to Cannelton Dam)

Species                                                            General Population     Special Population
Paddlefish (and eggs)                                         6 meals / year          No consumption
Channel catfish greater than 21 inches              6 meals / year          No consumption
Channel catfish less than 21inches                     1 meal / month         6 meals / year
Carp                                                                    1 meal / month         6 meals / year
Hybrid striped bass                                             1 meal / month         6 meals / year
White bass                                                          1 meal / month         6 meals / year
Drum                                                                    1 meal / month         6 meals / year
Sauger                                                                 1 meal / week           1 meal / month
Black basses                                                        1 meal / week           1 meal / month
Flathead catfish                                                    1 meal / week          1 meal / month

Lower Reach (Cannelton Dam to Mississippi River)

Species                                                       General Population           Special Population
Paddlefish (and eggs)                                 6 meals / year                   No consumption
Channel catfish                                           1 meal / month                  6 meals / year
Carp                                                            1 meal / month                  6 meals / year
Blue catfish greater than14 inches             1 meal / month                   6 meals / year
Blue catfish less than14 inches                   1 meal / week                    1 meal / month
Drum                                                           1 meal / month                   6 meals / year
Hybrid striped bass                                     1 meal / month                   6 meals / year
Sauger                                                        1 meal / week                     1 meal / month
White bass                                                  1 meal / month                   6 meals / year
Black basses (largemouth, spotted)            1 meal / week                    1 meal / month
White crappie                                              Unlimited                            1 meal / week
Bigmouth buffalo                                          1 meal / week                    1 meal / month
Flathead Catfish                                           1 meal/week                      1meal/month


Last Updated 5/30/2007