DNR updates fish eating guidance


MADISON — Updated fish eating guidance, Choose Wisely: A Health Guide for Eating Fish in Wisconsin [PDF], is now available online through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website.

Detailed information also is available through “Find Advice,” an online search tool that allows anglers to select their county and fishing spot to see local consumption advice.

For rivers where polychlorinated biphenyls build up in fish, new testing reconfirms current advisories with slight modifications for some species from Lake Michigan, the Lake Winnebago/Wolf River system and parts of the lower Fox (Little Lake Buttes des Morts to De Pere Dam), Menominee and lower Manitowoc Rivers.

Changes include less stringent advice for some Lake Michigan and Winnebago species meaning people can safely eat some of those fish more frequently. Advice does remain the same for several systems including the upper Manitowoc and Mississippi Rivers.

Advice for some inland lakes and impoundments, where mercury is the primary fish contaminant, was also updated. Fish consumption advice varies by location and species of fish and ranges from unrestricted or one serving per week to “do not eat.” These changes include advice to eat fewer of some fish from the Twin Falls Flowage in Florence County, Long Lake in Oneida County and Loretta Lake in Sawyer County. Included is less stringent advice for Lake Noquebay in Marinette County

DNR, in consultation with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, examines contaminant results for fish samples obtained each year at a subset of Wisconsin’s waters, along with data from recent years, to re-evaluate fish consumption advice.

The 2016 fish consumption advisory reflects new results for fish collected mostly in 2014-2015 from 32 locations and also considers results from bordering states and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission as well as DNR.

Most waters in the state are covered by general statewide advice. In 2016, the number of waters that carry more specific, stringent advice due to higher contaminant levels in some species from those waters is 146 due to removal of more stringent advice at two locations and addition at two other locations.

Candy Schrank, the DNR toxicologist who coordinates the fish contaminant monitoring and advisory program, urges anglers to check the 2016 advice to see if there have been any changes to the advice for those waters they fish frequently.

“We test contaminants in fish from a number of locations each year,” Schrank said. “Using these new results along with past testing, we update the advice, so it is important for anglers who frequently eat fish to check each year.”

Karen McKeown, state health officer of the Department of Health Services, noted that fish are a low-cost, low-fat source of protein, minerals and vitamins, but that people need to be aware of the kinds of fish they eat and where the fish come from.

“By following Wisconsin’s fish consumption advice, you can enjoy the fun of fishing as well as obtain the health benefits that come from eating fish,” McKeown said. “If you eat fish, you should make sure to follow the fish eating guidance and advisories that will help you to reduce your exposure to environmental contaminants that can build up in fish.”

For more information search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords “eating your catch.” Printed copies of the booklet will be available at DNR service centers and regional offices in a few weeks.