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Updates issued for six fish consumption advisories in SE Louisiana

The Louisiana Departments of Health, Environmental Quality, and Wildlife and Fisheries today issue a series of updates to six existing fish consumption advisories.

The State issues precautionary advisories when unacceptable levels of mercury are detected in fish or shellfish.

The Department of Environmental Quality conducts fish sampling. LDH then uses this data to determine the need for additional advisories or to modify existing advisories. Each advisory lists the specific fish, makes consumption recommendations and outlines the geographic boundaries of the affected waterways.

Amite River Drainage Basin

  • Includes Amite River from the Mississippi State Line to its confluence with Lake Maurepas, Colyell Creek, the Amite River Diversion Canal and the Petite Amite River
  • Women of childbearing age and children less than 7 years of age should consume no more than one meal per month* of bowfin (choupique, grinnel), freshwater drum (gaspergou), largemouth bass and warmouth combined from the advisory area; OR should consume no more than two meals per month of bigmouth buffalo, crappie (sac-au-lait), flathead catfish, redear sunfish and spotted bass combined from the advisory area.
  • Other adults and children 7 years of age and older: no advisory

Bayou Liberty

  • Includes Bayou Liberty only
  • Women of childbearing age and children less than 7 years of age should not consume black crappie; AND should consume no more than one meal per month of bowfin (choupique, grinnel), flathead catfish, largemouth bass and white crappie combined from the advisory area; OR should consume no more than two meals per month of bluegill, freshwater drum (gaspergou), redear sunfish and white bass combined from the advisory area.
  • Other adults and children 7 years of age and older should consume no more than two meals per month of black crappie; OR no more than three meals per month of flathead catfish.

Blind River

  • Includes the Blind River only
  • Women of childbearing age and children less than 7 years of age should not consume more than one meal per month of bowfin (choupique, grinnel), largemouth bass and freshwater drum (gaspergou) combined from the advisory area; OR should consume no more than two meals per month of any other species from the advisory area.
  • Other adults and children 7 years of age and older should consume no more than three meals per month of bowfin (choupique, grinnel) from the advisory area.

Tangipahoa River

  • Includes Tangipahoa River from the Louisiana/Mississippi state line to Lake Ponchartrain
  • Women of childbearing age and children less than 7 years of age should consume no more than one meal per month of bowfin (choupique, grinnel), flathead catfish, freshwater drum (gaspergou), largemouth bass and spotted bass combined from the advisory area; OR should consume no more than two meals per month of all other species combined from the advisory area.
  • Other adults and children 7 years of age and older should consume no more than three meals per month of largemouth bass from the advisory area.

Bogue Falaya and Tchefuncte Rivers

  • Includes the Bogue Falaya River from its headwaters to its confluence with the Tchefuncte River, and the Tchefuncte River from its headwaters to Lake Ponchartrain. All oxbow lakes associated with these sections of the Bogue Falaya and the Tchefuncte Rivers are included in this advisory.
  • Women of childbearing age and children less than 7 years of age should consume no more than one meal per month of black drum, crappie (sac-au-lait), flathead catfish, freshwater drum (gaspergou), largemouth bass and spotted bass combined; OR should consume no more than two
  • meals per month of bigmouth buffalo, bluegill, bowfin (choupique, grinnel) and striped bass combined from the advisory area.
  • Other adults and children 7 years of age and older should consume no more than three meals per month of flathead catfish, freshwater drum (gaspergou), largemouth bass and spotted bass combined from the advisory area.

Tickfaw River Drainage Basin

  • Includes the Tickfaw River from the Mississippi-Louisiana state line to Lake Maurepas; the Natalbany River, the Blood River, Lizard Creek and Ponchatoula Creek.
  • Women of childbearing age and children less than 7 years of age should consume no more than one meal per month of bigmouth buffalo, bowfin (choupique, grinnel), flathead catfish, freshwater drum (gaspergou), largemouth bass and white crappie combined from the advisory area; OR should consume no more than two meals per month of any other species from the advisory area.
  • Other adults and children 7 years of age and older should consume no more than three meals per month of freshwater drum (gaspergou) and largemouth combined from the advisory area.

* A meal is considered to be half a pound of fish for adults

 

Because of mercury contamination, there are now fish consumption advisories for 49 waterways in Louisiana and one for the Gulf of Mexico.

Louisiana fish consumption advisories are based on the estimate that the average resident eats four meals of fish per month. Consuming more than this from local water bodies may increase health risks.

Mercury is an element that occurs naturally in the environment. Consequently, there are small amounts of mercury in the sediments of streams, lakes, rivers and oceans. Nearly all fish contain trace amounts of mercury. They absorb mercury as they feed on aquatic organisms. Larger predator fish contain more mercury than smaller fish. It is recommended that smaller fish be consumed instead of larger ones.

People are exposed to low levels of mercury throughout their lives. Eating contaminated fish is one way we are exposed to mercury. Health effects from harmful levels of mercury can include nervous system and kidney damage. Young children and developing fetuses are more sensitive to the toxic effects of mercury. Therefore, consumption advisories are issued at lower fish tissue concentrations for women of childbearing age and children under 7 years of age.

The full text for each advisory is posted online at www.ldh.la.gov/EatSafeFish or by calling toll-free 1-888-293-7020. You may also access the information by downloading the Department of Environmental Quality’s new app which is available through Google Play (DEQ Fish Advisories) and the App Store (LA Fish Advisories).

About the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. LDWF receives no state general funding and depends on license sales as a major funding source.  Help us protect your hunting and fishing heritage while preserving habitat, wildlife, and aquatic resources by purchasing your license at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email or text alerts signup here.

About the Louisiana Department of Health

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. The Louisiana Department of Health includes the Office of Public Health, Office of Aging & Adult Services, Office of Behavioral Health, Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, and Healthy Louisiana (Medicaid). To learn more, visit www.ldh.la.gov or follow us on TwitterFacebook or our blog.