State Health Department Issues Annual Fish Advisories

New Advice Applies to Onondaga Lake and Other Lakes and Ponds

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 28, 2010) - The New York State Health Department (DOH) today released 2010-2011 health advisories as part of its annual guide for chemicals in sportfish and game. New York State has issued fish advisories to protect public health for nearly 40 years and has one of the most comprehensive fish advisory programs in the nation.

This year's release contains revised advisories for levels of mercury, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxin and chlordane found in some fish from two ponds and four lakes in Upstate New York and Long Island including: Rollins Pond in Franklin County and Upper Twin Pond in Nassau County, Canadice Lake in Ontario County, Cranberry Lake in St. Lawrence County, Indian Lake in Hamilton County, and Onondaga Lake in Onondaga County. The advisories for the other state waters have not changed from last year.

"Fish is an important source of protein that is low in saturated fats," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "New Yorkers can still receive all the health benefits of eating fish by following the advisories to reduce their exposures to contaminants. Women of childbearing age and children should not eat fish from any of the waters listed in our advisory guide."

The annual health advisories provide advice for sports anglers, hunters and the general public about how to reduce their exposure to chemical contaminants found in sportfish. This year's guide includes a new easy-to-use format to help anglers find advisories by region.

The recommendations are based on the latest State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) sampling data on more than 2,100 fish from 40 waters across the State and are also published in the DEC Fishing Regulations Guide. New York's waters include more than 70,000 miles of rivers and streams; 7,600 lakes, ponds and reservoirs; two Great Lakes; and substantial marine waters and estuaries.

Mercury and PCBs as well as other fish contaminants may affect the nervous system of children born to mothers exposed to these chemicals. Some contaminants may also build up in women's bodies and may be passed to newborns through breast milk. Because some contaminants may accumulate and remain in the body for a long time, women should follow this consumption advice throughout their childbearing years.

Women and children should continue to follow the existing advice to avoid eating northern pike, pickerel, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and larger yellow perch (over 10 inches) from all waters in the Adirondack and Catskill regions due to mercury contamination.

Women under age 50 and children under age 15 should not eat fish from any of the 137 fresh waters and Hudson estuary waters listed in the health advisories. For fresh waters in the State that have no specific advisories and some marine waters at the mouth of the Hudson River, the general advisory is to eat up to four half-pound meals of fish per month.

The new advisory booklet can be found at www.nyhealth.gov/fish. For more information or to become a partner in distributing the fish advisories, please call DOH's environmental health line at 800-458-1158, ext. 27800.

New Advisories

Rollins Pond, Franklin County

Population Advice (Chemicals of Concern)
Women under age 50 and children under the age of 15 EAT NO fish of any species (mercury).
Older women and adult males EAT UP TO ONE MEAL PER MONTH of smallmouth bass (mercury).
Eat up to four meals per month of all other fish.

Indian Lake in the Town of Indian Lake, Hamilton County

Population Advice (Chemicals of Concern)
Women under age 50 and children under the age of 15 EAT NO fish of any species (mercury).
Older women and adult males EAT UP TO ONE MEAL PER MONTH of smallmouth bass over 15 inches (mercury).
Eat up to four meals per month of all other fish.

Existing Revised Advisories

Canadice Lake, Ontario County

Population Advice (Chemicals of Concern)
Women under age 50 and children under the age of 15 EAT NO fish of any species (PCBs).
Older women and adult males EAT NO lake trout over 23 inches (PCBs).
EAT UP TO ONE MEAL PER MONTH of brown trout and smaller lake trout (PCBs).
Eat up to four meals per month of all other fish.

Cranberry Lake, St. Lawrence County

Population Advice (Chemicals of Concern)
Women under age 50 and children under the age of 15 EAT NO fish of any species (mercury).
Older women and adult males EAT UP TO ONE MEAL PER MONTH of largemouth and smallmouth bass over 15 inches (mercury).
Eat up to four meals per month of all other fish.

Onondaga Lake, Onondaga County

Population Advice (Chemicals of Concern)
Women under age 50 and children under the age of 15 EAT NO fish of any species (mercury, PCBs and dioxin).
Older women and adult males EAT NO largemouth and smallmouth bass over 15 inches, carp, channel catfish, white perch and walleye (mercury, PCBs and dioxin).
Eat up to four meals per month of brown bullhead and pumpkinseed.
EAT UP TO ONE MEAL PER MONTH of all other fish (mercury and PCBs).

Upper Twin Pond, Nassau County

Population Advice (Chemicals of Concern)
Women under age 50 and children under the age of 15 EAT NO fish of any species (chlordane).
Older women and adult males EAT UP TO ONE MEAL PER MONTH of American eel and carp (chlordane).
Eat up to four meals per month of all other fish.