State adds to fish warnings this year

Jul 11, 2011

The new Michigan Fish Advisory is out.  The advisory lists which Great Lakes fish are fairly safe to eat, and which should be avoided.

In general, blue gill, crappie, yellow perch and rock bass are safer to eat than fish like carp, lake trout, white fish, and catfish.

Women of child-bearing age and children have to be especially cautious about eating too many fish, because chemicals in fish can potentially cause neurological damage.

State toxicologist Kory Groetsch says the level of mercury in locally-caught fish has stayed about the same over the past few decades.

"The good news is chemicals like PCBs -- which are widespread throughout the Great Lakes -- have been coming down," says Gretch.  "The concentrations have been decreasing over the past, oh, 30 years."

The advisory includes a wide variety of fish caught in many of the state’s rivers, inland lakes, and the Great Lakes.

Gretch says people who rarely eat locally-caught fish shouldn’t worry.  

"(But) if someone is eating from a contaminated water body and eats lots of those fish for many years, those chemicals are going to build up in their body, and for some people that may result in harm," he says.

The biggest change to the advisory this year relates to lake perch.  People should avoid eating lake perch that are over 20 inches in length.

Last year, the advisory said lake perch over 22 inches in length should be avoided.