Hudson River Fish Advisory Outreach Project

woman holding a catfish

Can You Eat that Fish from the Hudson?

Fish are nutritious and good to eat, but some fish have levels of chemicals that may be harmful to your health. PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are a type of man-made chemical in Hudson River fish that can harm your health. Even if the fish look healthy and the water looks clean, these chemicals are present in Hudson River fish, including striped bass.

The New York State Department of Health provides health advice for eating sportfish from New York State water bodies, including the Hudson River. The advice is a guide to how much fish is okay to eat, if any, and how to clean and cook fish to reduce chemicals.

  • Women of childbearing age and children under 15 are advised to not eat any fish or crabs from the Hudson River south of the Corinth Dam because PCBs may be more harmful to young children and unborn babies.
  • The advice for men over 15 and women over 50 depends on where in the river you are fishing and what type of fish you catch: Health Advice on Eating Hudson River Fish (PDF).
  • While Hudson River blue crabs may be a good choice for men and older women, NYS DOH recommends not eating the green stuff (liver, tomalley) in crabs (PDF).

About the Project

The Hudson River Fish Advisory Outreach Project is a multi-year initiative of the New York State Department of Health. The goal of the Project is for all anglers and others who eat fish from the Hudson River to know about and follow the New York State fish advisories. The project area extends from Hudson Falls to the New York City Battery.

Click below to view project updates summarizing program efforts since 2009 that highlight the successess and challenges of our program. Highlights from the program's Hudson River fish consumption surveys are available at the back of each report for 2017 and 2018 and a full appendix of survey results with discussion is available as a separate link below for 2009-2016.

Thumbnail picture of Hudson River Fish Advisory project report

Mini-grants and partners

To reach people along nearly 400 miles of the Hudson, local partnerships are critical. The New York State Department of Health works in partnership with other state and local agencies and a multitude of community groups that share our goal - and we welcome new partners.

In 2008, we awarded $60,500 in small grants to four community groups for outreach to encourage anglers and other fish consumers to follow the Department's Hudson River fish advisories. This level of funding support continued until 2014, when, through a new Request For Applications, we expanded the funding to about $90,000 annually to six organizations.

Our currently funded partners include:

  • CCE of Saratoga County
  • Rensselaer Land Trust/River Haggie Outdoors
  • CCE of Albany County
  • CCE of Rockland County
  • CCE of Dutchess County
  • Hudson Sloop Clearwater

Connecting at the local level, these partners promote awareness of the health advice, help us learn more about who is eating Hudson fish, and develop educational tools and outreach activities. Grantees work in a variety of settings, from fishing locations on the river to nutrition programs, clinic waiting rooms, community events, food pantries, and in programs with students and youth groups. Since 2009, project partners have reached thousands of school children and adults through environmental and nutrition programs.

Free Resources

The New York State Department of Health has developed many free materials to convey the health advice on eating Hudson fish, including brochures, wallet cards, posters, a coloring book and a "Cut the Fat to Cut PCBs" magnet. Below are a few Hudson specific materials that may be ordered for free. To see all NYS DOH fish publications and to order materials, visit our publications page.

activity book thumbnailHudson River Creatures Activity Book
A 20-page activity and coloring book for schools, health care waiting rooms and Hudson River community events.

fish trimming magnet thumbnailCut the Fat to Cut PCBs Fish Trimming Magnet
This brightly colored 4"x4" magnet illustrates the important message of how to reduce PCBs in fish. Also available in Spanish and Chinese.

poster thumbnailCan You Eat That Fish From the Hudson?

An 11"x17" poster in English or Spanish for your community space.

Hudson River Fish Advisory Signs

signs thumbnailsigns thumbnail

Free Hudson River fish advisory signs (coated 12" x 14" aluminum with mounting holes) are available to municipalities and other Hudson River property owners. They are also available in Spanish and Chinese.

Signs are one tool that communities may choose to pursue to alert local anglers about fish advisories. NYS DOH encourages communities to use signs in conjunction with a variety of other methods of outreach. Signs must be posted by the land owner, NYS DOH cannot post signs on their own. Landowners may order FREE signs using this order form.

The Hudson River Fish Advisory Project maintains a database of around 140 locations from the Federal Dam in Troy, Rensselaer County to Yonkers, Westchester County. Every year, program staff do sign inspections in several counties to see if signs need replacement. Staff send letters and make follow-up phone calls to municipalities that need to re-post signs.

Additional Information

Contact Us

If you are interested in finding out more about the Hudson River Fish Advisory Outreach Project, please call 518-402-7530 or 1-800-458-1158 or email hrfa@health.ny.gov.