State Health Department Issues Updated Fish Advisories

ALBANY, April 15, 2005 - The New York State Department of Health (DOH) today released changes in New York's health advisories in the 2005-06 'Chemicals in Sportfish and Game.' This year's guide highlights health advisory changes for 25 ponds, lakes and reservoirs across the state. Twenty-four of the 25 advisories were issued due to mercury contamination identified in fish.

As a result of these findings, the DOH is advising women of childbearing years and children under the age of 15 to avoid eating ANY FISH from the waters listed below. They should also avoid eating specific species of fish (northern pike, pickerel, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and larger yellow perch) from ALL WATERS in the Adirondack and Catskill Mountain regions because of mercury contamination. The DOH recommends that all other individuals adhere to the advisories and the specified limits listed below when eating fish.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regularly samples fish in New York State waters. The new information on mercury in fish is part of a comprehensive DEC study supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Mercury and other contaminants may affect the nervous system and organs in the fetus, newborns and young children. Some of these contaminants may also build up in women's bodies and some chemicals may be passed to newborns in their mother's milk. Because some contaminants may accumulate and remain in the body for a long time, women should follow the stricter consumption advice throughout their childbearing years.

New York State's waters include more than 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, three million acres in thousands of lakes, reservoirs and ponds and one million acres of marine waters. New York's fish monitoring and advisory program is among the most comprehensive in the nation.

The DOH's annual health advisories provide advice for sports anglers, hunters and the general public about how to reduce exposure to chemical contaminants in the State's sportfish and game. Specific advisories now apply to 117 New York waters. This year, the DOH reviewed DEC sampling data collected from more than 2,500 fish in 84 waters across the state.

A general, and long-standing, statewide 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.

The fish advisories are published in the Fishing Regulations Guide and the game advisories are published in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide issued by DEC. The complete Health Advisories and additional information can be obtained from the DOH's web site at http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/fish/fish.htm or by contacting the Department's toll-free information line at 1-800-458-1158.

New DOH health advisories have been issued for the following waters:

Advisory Change for Canadice Lake