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DNR and DHS publish 2020-21 fish consumption advisory

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Tuesday announced the release of the 2020-21 Choose Wisely booklet, which identifies Wisconsin water bodies with elevated levels of contaminants.

The updated booklet outlines safe-eating guidelines for fish based on levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) found in various Wisconsin water bodies. While fish are a primary source of important nutrients like omega-3s, they can also accumulate pollutants from their environment and food, causing health risks for humans.

Last published in 2016, the updated version contains several additions and changes including:

_ Modifications to consumption advice for specific Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and Mississippi River fish.

_ Less restrictive advice for certain species from the Fox River below the De Pere dam.

_ New PFOS-based advice for Lake Monona and Starkweather Creek (Dane County) and the Wisconsin River (Biron and Petenwell Flowages).

_ Removal of PCB site-specific advice for Lake Mendota (Dane County).

“We test for contaminants in fish from several locations each year and use those results, along with past testing, to update advice for those newly tested waters,” said Sean Strom, DNR Environmental Toxicologist. “It is important for anglers who frequently eat fish to check for new advisory updates.”

Fish throughout Wisconsin were sampled from waters with suspected pollution and contamination along with popular angling areas. Taylor County specific guidelines in the booklet are posted for Diamond, Sackett and South Harper lakes, where all men and women over 50 are encouraged to limit meals of walleyes longer than 19 inches to one a month.

Based on the levels of contaminants found, public health, water quality and fisheries experts from eight Great Lakes states and Ontario, Canada, determined the amount of fish that is safe to consume over the span of a person’s lifetime, as well as overall health impacts.

“By following Wisconsin’s fish consumption advice, you can enjoy the fun of fishing as well as obtain the health benefits that come from eating fish,” said Dr. Jonathan Meiman, DHS Chief Medical Officer. “If you eat fish, you should make sure to follow the guidance and advisories to help you to reduce your exposure to environmental contaminants that can build up in fish.”

The DNR encourages the public to follow these safeeating guidelines to reduce the risk of ingesting unwanted contaminants.

Find location-specific consumption advice and additional information on the DNR’s website at https://dnr.