SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There is a new advisory about the fish people catch in California waters and whether they should eat them.
The new advisory is for five types of fish in the Bullards Bar Reservoir in Yuba County. But there are advisories for many bodies of water throughout the state.
“Mercury is the contaminant of concern,” said Sam Delson with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, “and mercury affects the developing brain.”
Delson says nearly every body of water has some level of mercury and consumers need to pay attention.
“We have slightly more than 90 advisories for different water bodies,” said Delson.
The OEHHA website has a map, which displays all the active advisories with ranging recommendations.
One, for example, is Folsom Lake. The advisory suggests middle-aged women and children not eat black bass, salmon, and trout over 16 inches.
“We shouldn’t be eating a whole bunch of them,” said one man who fishes several times a week, “maybe once a week is good, but not every day.”
Delson says the mercury levels can vary across the state, with high concentrations near old mines.
“The contamination levels in fish are based mostly on what they eat rather than water they breathe,” said Delson.
While some fish species may be off limits, Delson says he doesn’t want to discourage people from eating a healthy diet.
“It’s sort of a balancing act,” explained Delson. “We want to be able to identify fish that you can safely eat often enough so you can get the health benefits of the omega 3’s as well as the species, in some cases, you should avoid.”