Health Department Issues Latest Health Advisories for Fish

Advice for Sports Anglers to Reduce Health Risks

ALBANY, July 9, 2004 - The State Health Department today released this year's guide for Health Advisories, Chemicals in Sportfish and Game. The 2004-05 State guide includes updates for some New York City reservoirs, Adirondack lakes and ponds, and other waters in New York and provides advice for sports anglers and hunters about how to reduce exposure to chemical contaminants in some of the State's sportfish and game.

The Health Advisories apply to recreational sportfish and are not applicable to commercial fish sold in markets, where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards and advisories apply. Specific advisories now apply to more than 90 New York water bodies and identify those sportfish that have elevated levels of chemical contaminants. The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) collects fish and wildlife and analyzes them for chemical contaminants. The State Health Department uses the DEC data to develop the Health Advisories. This year new information on 15 Adirondack waters was made available as part of recent studies by the DEC.

A general advisory applies to sportfish taken from any fresh waters in the state and some marine waters at the mouth of the Hudson River. The general advice is to EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL (1/2 pound) of fish per week.

Special health advice for women of childbearing age and children under the age of 15 to EAT NO sportfish applies to any water body where specific advisories have been issued. This health advice is based on findings that contaminants in sportfish may be a greater risk to a fetus or young child. Many of these contaminants may build up in women's bodies and be passed on in mother's milk. Women of childbearing age and children under the age of 15 should EAT NO fish from the waters listed below.

The Health Advisories are published in the Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guides issued annually by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The Health Advisories booklet and additional information can be obtained from the Health Department's web site at http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/fish/fish.htm or by calling the Department at 1-800-458-1158, extension 27815.

New Advisories

New York City Reservoirs

New specific advisories have been added for three New York City reservoirs, based on new data showing that certain fish species from these waters have mercury levels higher than the FDA marketplace standard for mercury in fish (1 part per million). Previous advisories for several New York City reservoirs remain in effect.

New York City's drinking water is regularly tested by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and meets New York State drinking water standards. DEP's most recent annual water quality statement indicates that mercury was not detected in water samples. Information about the New York City Reservoir System, including fishing access, is available from the DEP website at www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/home/home.shtml or by calling 311 in New York City, if outside of New York City call 212-639-9675 (212-NEW-YORK).

  • Neversink Reservoir (Sullivan County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of brown trout larger than 24 inches, based on elevated mercury levels.
  • Pepacton Reservoir (Delaware County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of brown trout larger than 24 inches or yellow perch (all sizes), based on elevated mercury levels.
  • Schoharie Reservoir (Delaware, Greene and Schoharie Counties) - EAT NO smallmouth bass larger than 15 inches or walleye larger than 18 inches; and EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of smaller smallmouth bass or walleye, based on elevated mercury levels.

Adirondack Waters

New specific advisories have been added for 13 Adirondack ponds and lakes, also based on elevated mercury levels. Previous advisories for three of these waters (Soft Maple Reservoir, Soft Maple Dam Pond and Tupper Lake) remain in effect.

  • Effley Falls Reservoir (Lewis County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of chain pickerel and smallmouth bass (all sizes).
  • Forked Lake (Hamilton County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of largemouth and smallmouth bass (all sizes).
  • Lake Eaton (Hamilton County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of yellow perch larger than 10 inches.
  • North Lake (Town of Ohio, Herkimer County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of yellow perch (all sizes).
  • Polliwog Pond (Franklin County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of smallmouth bass (all sizes).
  • Rock Pond and Lake Durant (Town of Indian Lake, Hamilton County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of largemouth bass larger than 15 inches.
  • Sand Lake (Town of Arietta, Hamilton County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of chain pickerel (all sizes).
  • Soft Maple Dam Pond and Soft Maple Reservoir (Lewis County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of smallmouth bass (all sizes).
  • South Pond (Town of Long Lake, Hamilton County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of yellow perch larger than 10 inches.
  • Tupper Lake (Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of smallmouth bass (all sizes).
  • Willis Lake (Hamilton County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of smallmouth bass (all sizes).

Other Waters

  • Goodyear Lake (Otsego County) - EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of walleye larger than 22 inches, based on elevated mercury levels
  • Upper Twin Pond (Orange County) — EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of American eel, based on elevated chlordane levels.

Discontinued Advisories

Due to reduced concentrations of PCBs and chlorinated pesticides, previous advisories to EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of carp from Belmont Lake (Suffolk Co.) and large lake trout from Canandaigua Lake (Ontario & Yates Co.) have been removed. The statewide general advisory to eat no more than one meal per week now applies to all fish from these lakes.