Staff Reports for Island Eye News
New information is available on how much of which fish is safe to eat from South Carolina waters.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has released the annual state fish consumption advisory, which includes several new species and locations.
DHEC’s website provides a complete listing of fish consumption advisories, an interactive advisory state map, booklet and additional information and resources.
Each advisory is based on one meal (or 8 ounces) of uncooked fish, which is about the size of two decks of cards. Consumption advice is given for a specific species of fish within a water body.
Spotted bass in Lake Keowee and Lake Hartwell, and largemouth bass in Lake Keowee have been added to this year’s advisories due to mercury levels found in tissue samples of those fish. Consumption recommendations for spotted bass from Lake Hartwell is no more than one meal per month,and no more than one meal per week of spotted bass and largemouth bass from Lake Keowee.
“Fish caught in the state’s waters are safe to eat if people follow the fish consumption advisory guidelines,” David Baize, chief of DHEC’s Bureau of Water.
“The advisory helps anglers know what amounts are healthy to eat based on the location and species they are catching.”
Fish is a healthy source of protein and nutrients, is low in saturated fat and contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. However, fish sometimes accumulate minerals and contaminants in their tissue. DHEC monitors fish populations across the state, along with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, to prevent unhealthy levels of mercury or other contaminants being passed on to humans who might eat the fish.
Pregnant women, women who might become pregnant, infants and children should not eat any fish with an advisory. A fish advisory does not mean the water is unsafe for recreational or drinking uses.
The 2016 Fish Consumption Advisory is now available online or copies are available from DHEC county public health departments, DHEC regional offices, DNR district offices, OB/GYN offices, health clinics and many state parks, or on DHEC’s website at www.scdhec.gov/fish.
For questions about fish consumption advisories, call DHEC’s Fish Advisory Hotline toll-free at 1-888-849-7241.