This week U.S. EPA and FDA sent out a news release encouraging pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to eat more fish that is lower in mercury to gain important developmental and health benefits. In Iowa, those species include bluegill, crappie and yellow perch.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) issue fish consumption advisories based on analysis of fish tissue and guidance from the EPA and FDA. The complete list of Iowa’s fish consumption advisories is available online at www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/WaterQuality/WaterMonitoring/MonitoringPrograms/FishTissueMonitoring.aspx).
In nearly all cases, Iowa fish are safe to eat. Most advisories in Iowa are for elevated mercury levels in predator species: largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike and muskellunge. Mercury is rarely detected in panfish species.
For information on the benefits of eating fish or what types of fish you should restrict in your diet, visit the IDPH’s webpage at http://www.idph.state.ia.us/eh/common/pdf/env/fish_health_issues.pdf
For more information about Iowa's fish and mercury concerns, contact George Scholten, DNR Fisheries Research, 515-281-8663, George.Schoten@dnr.iowa.gob