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Consumption advisory issued for Lake Roosevelt largemouth bass

FOR RELEASE: February 24, 2004
Dave Micklos, Department of Health, 773-3361
Dennis U
nkenholz, Game, Fish & Parks, 773-4508
Pat Snyder, Environment & Natural Resources, 773-4729

Consumption advisory issued for Lake Roosevelt largemouth bass

     PIERRE – The state has issued a consumption advisory for largemouth bass 18 inches and longer from Lake Roosevelt in Tripp County. Recent testing of game fish in the lake southeast of Colome found mercury levels exceeding 1 part per million (ppm) in largemouth bass 18 inches and longer. Larger, older fish have more exposure to mercury contamination and thus accumulate more mercury in their flesh.

     The Department of Health recommends that healthy adults eat no more than 7 ounces per week of the specified largemouth bass. Children younger than 7 should eat no more than one 4-ounce meal of the fish per month. Women who plan to become pregnant, are pregnant or are breast-feeding should have no more than one 7-ounce meal of the fish per month. Seven ounces of fish is roughly the size of two decks of playing cards.

     When mercury levels in fish reach 1 ppm, meals should be spaced to prevent potentially dangerous mercury accumulation. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set 1 ppm as the action level for commercial fish. This action level is 10 times lower than the lowest levels associated with negative neurological effects observed in mercury poisoning incidents. The Department of Health uses the FDA action level to issue consumption information to the public. 

     Fish in South Dakota lakes and rivers are tested for metals, pesticides, and PCBs as a collaborative effort of the South Dakota Departments of Health, Game, Fish & Parks, and Environment & Natural Resources. 

     For a list of other consumption advisories in effect and for more information about mercury and fish and fish consumption, see the Department of Health's web site at www.state.sd.us/doh/Fish.