Wednesday, March 07, 2001

Fish caught in Ohio becoming safer to eat

Health officials relax advisories

By John Seewer
The Associated Press

        Fish caught in Ohio's lakes and rivers are getting safer to eat, according to the state.

        Several fish have been upgraded on the Ohio Department of Health's annual consumption advisory. For example, smallmouth bass caught in Lake Erie can now be eaten safely once a week instead of once a month.

    The Ohio Department of Health warns it isn't safe to eat any fish from parts of four Ohio rivers:
    • Dicks Creek, from Middletown to the Great Miami River.
    • Little Scioto River, near Marion.
    • Middle Fork Little Beaver Creek, in Columbiana County.
    • Ottawa River, in Toledo.
        Channel catfish and carp taken from the Scioto River have been removed from the advisory's do-not-eat list.

        Still, the health department warns that fish caught in Ohio should be eaten in moderation because of pollutants in the water.

        The state warns that because of possible mercury contamination, women of childbearing age and children under age 7 should not eat more than one meal of Ohio sport fish each week.

        Twelve of Ohio's lakes and rivers have fish on the do-not-eat list because they are contaminated with PCBs, mercury or lead.

        The health department says most of Ohio's fish are high quality. The contaminated fish are mainly bottom-feeding fish such as carp and catfish.

        Included on the list of fish that should not be eaten are large channel catfish in the Ohio River and Lake Erie; carp in the Ohio River; and all channel catfish in the Maumee River near Toledo.

        The state tests fish in all of Ohio's major lakes and rivers every three to five years. Some heavily fished water, such as Lake Erie and the Ohio River, are tested more often.

        The new advisory is based on tests on more than 400 fish tissue samples taken last year.


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