Environmental Health Division
Environmental Health Division

Fish Advisory Information

 

NEW!!  2013 Sport Harvested Mussel Quarantine

The mussel quarantine is a yearly event that happens due to dangerous levels of biotoxins that may be present in mussels gathered by the public anywhere on the California coast, including bays, inlets and harbors. The quarantine applies only to sport-harvested mussels; commercially grown mussels from certified companies are not included in the quarantine.

More information about the quarantine, PSP and DAP can be found by accessing the California Department of Public Health Press Release (April, 24, 2013): Annual Quarantine of Sport Harvested Mussels (PDF)


Catching and Eating Sport Fish in California

Fish are nutritious and good for you to eat.  But some fish you catch may take in toxic chemicals from the water they live in and from the food they eat.  Over time, some of these chemicals build up in the fish and in you.  Although the levels found are usually low, large amounts may be harmful.  It’s a good idea to follow a few precautions in consuming fish, particularly if you eat fish often.  This advisory gives some tips on how you should catch, prepare, and eat fish.  It is not intended to discourage you from eating fish, but should be used as a guide to make your sport fish eating safer.

Fish that contain high levels of toxic chemicals are found in many different parts of California.  Here are some examples of those places:

  • Southern California (Los Angeles area) - certain kinds of fish contain high levels of industrial chemicals and pesticides.  White croakers in some locations should not be eaten, and other fish should be eaten only in limited amounts.
  • San Francisco Bay and Delta - mercury, PCBs and other chemicals of concern have been found in fish.  Advisories have been issued for several fish species.
  • Coastal Inland lakes - fish in some lakes have high levels of mercury.

The amounts of chemicals found in sport fish in California are not known to cause immediate sickness.  But chemicals can collect in the body over time and they may eventually affect your health or that of your children.  Some of the adverse health effects that might occur from continued exposure to high levels of toxic chemicals in fish are:

  • Cancer
  • Slower growth or brain damage in children
  • Kidney damage

When places are found with fish that contain high levels of chemicals, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) issues health advisories.  The advisories tell how much of the fish you can eat without worry, or whether it is recommended to eat any at all.  These advisories appear in the California Sport Fishing Regulations booklet and are also available from OEHHA.

There may be locations that are not yet known where fish and shellfish may be contaminated with chemicals.  If you fish for sport or to feed your family, you can reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals by taking the precautions below.  Protect your health and your family’s health by following this general advice and any advisories for specific locations where you fish.

For more information, please contact:

California Environmental Protection Agency Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

Sacramento Headquarters…....... (916) 324-7572

Berkeley Office ……….................. (510) 540-2122

 


Eat Sport Fish Safely:

Sport fish in San Francisco Bay contain chemicals at levels that may harm your health.  The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) advises you to limit how much you eat of the fish that you catch in the bay:

  • General population:

No more than two meals per month.
No striped bass over 35 inches.

  • Women who are pregnant or nursing, and children under 6:

No more than one meal per month.
No shark over 24 inches or striped bass over 27 inches.

  • No consumption limit for salmon, anchovies, herring, and smelt.

OEHHA also advises you to prepare and cook fish that you catch in ways that will reduce the levels of some of the chemicals in the fish.  For a copy of the advisory, contact OEHHA at the address below.

California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA)
Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
700 Heinz Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94710

 

 

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