Alabama Department of Public Health issues 2022 fish consumption advisories

Photo of the Alabama Cooperative Extension

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) updates fish consumption advisories annually based on data collected the previous fall by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM ).

ADEM, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources collected samples of specific fish species for analysis from various bodies of water in the state during the fall 2021 (365 samples; 34 collection stations). The ADPH evaluated the analytical results to determine if any of the contaminants tested in the fish could cause potential effects on human health.

Fish consumption advisories are issued for specific water bodies and specific species taken from those areas. In reservoirs, the advisories apply to waters as far upstream as a boat can go in a tributary, ie up to the maximum elevation of the basin.

Newly issued advisories will be represented as the safe number of meals of that fish species that can be eaten in a given time period, such as meals per week, meals per month, or no eating. A meal serving consists of six ounces of cooked fish or eight ounces of raw fish.

New and updated consumption advisories issued for the 34 water bodies tested are available on the ADPH website.

The advice in this release and the complete listings of posted fish consumption advisories are offered as a guideline to people who wish to eat fish they catch from various bodies of water in the state. There are no regulations prohibiting the consumption of any of the fish caught in the state, nor is there any risk of an acute toxic episode that could result from the consumption of any of the fish containing the contaminants. for which the State has carried out analyses.

A fish consumption advisory may be issued for one or more specific species of fish in a body of water, or an advisory may be extended to include all species of fish in that body of water. When excessive levels of a contaminant are found in a specific species of fish, an advisory is issued for that specific species. For example, if an advisory had been issued for largemouth bass and not for channel catfish, it would be advised not to eat largemouth bass, but the consumption of channel catfish is allowed without danger for health. When excessive levels of a contaminant are found in multiple species of fish sampled from a specific body of water, a Do Not Eat advisory is issued. Consuming any fish from a specific body of water under a do not eat advisory may put the consumer at risk of harm from the contaminant.

If a species is listed in the advisory, it is safe to assume that similar species with similar feeding habits should be eaten with caution. For example, if black crappie is listed and white crappie is not because they belong to the same family, all crappie would be subject to the listed notice.

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