Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (Banner Imagery) - Go to home page

Health and Family Services Cabinet
Fish Consumption Advisories Issued for Ohio River

Press Release Date:  Friday, August 20, 2010  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Beth Fisher, (502) 564-6786, ext. 3325 and 4012  


 
Pregnant Women, Children Should Follow Guidelines for Special Populations

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the Department of Environmental Protection today issued fish consumption advisories for the Ohio River to warn about the possible risks of eating unrestricted amounts of some fish.


The advisories have been issued due to elevated levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and mercury levels found in tissue samples. Advisories are for the general population and special populations, which include pregnant women, nursing mothers and their infants, and children. Women who may be or plan to become pregnant should follow the special population guidelines.


“Pregnant women, women of childbearing age, and children who consume fish as part of their diet are more susceptible to the ill effects of contaminants sometimes found in fish,” said William Hacker, M.D., DPH commissioner. “By following the guidelines in this advisory, individuals can reduce their exposure to contaminants in fish, help reduce their health risks, and still get the benefits of eating fish.”


 “Fish are fun to catch, and are a nutritious, low-fat food,” said Ron Brooks, director of fisheries with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Our role is to educate the public about recommended amounts of certain fish they should consume so everyone can make informed decisions.”

The following are consumption precautions for various tested species in three areas (upper, middle and lower) of the Ohio River bordering Kentucky. In general, if a species is not listed it does not necessarily mean the other fish species are risk-free 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 6 meals a year                No consumption   
Carp 1 meal a month               6 meals a year   
Channel catfish (greater than 21 inches) 6 meals a year               No consumption
   
Channel catfish (less than 21 inches) 1 meal a month              6 meals a year   
Smallmouth buffalo 1 meal a month              6 meals a year   
White bass 1 meal a month              6 meals a year   
Drum  1 meal a month              6 meals a year   
White crappie Unlimited 1 meal a week
   
Hybrid striped bass 1 meal a month               6 meals a year
   
Sauger 1 meal a month               6 meals a year
   
Flathead catfish 1 meal a month               6 meals a year
   
Black bass (large mouth, etc.) 1 meal a week           1 meal a month 

 


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


Lower Reach (Cannelton Dam to Mississippi River)

Species                              General Population            Special Population

 
Paddlefish (and eggs)            6 meals a year                 No consumption
   
Channel catfish  1 meal a month               6 meals a year
   
Carp     1 meal a month              6 meals a year
   
Blue catfish >14”                 1 meal a month              6 meals a year
   
Blue catfish <14”                 1 meal a week               1 meal a month
   
Drum     1 meal a month              6 meals a year
   
Hybrid striped bass            1 meal a month               6 meals a year
   
Sauger  1 meal a week               1 meal a month
   
White bass                           1 meal a month              6 meals a year
   
Black bass (largemouth, spotted)    1 meal a week             1 meal a month
   
White crappie                      Unlimited  1 meal a week
   
Bigmouth buffalo                 1 meal a week             1 meal a month
 

  
In April 2000, a statewide mercury advisory was issued for all freshwater fish from Kentucky waters, including the Ohio River. Women of childbearing age and children 6 years and younger should eat no more than one meal per week of any freshwater fish.


DPH also reminds consumers that proper cleaning, skinning, trimming and cooking can reduce contaminant levels in the fish. Eat only skinless, boneless fillets with as much fat as possible removed. Do not eat the skin, which can contain higher levels of fat. Eggs should be discarded. Roasting, baking or broiling has been found to reduce the levels of PCBs and chlordane more than other cooking methods.

           



 

Last Updated 8/20/2010