SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
FOR RELEASE: August 20, 2003
Contact: Dave Micklos, Department of Health, 773-3361
Dennis Unkenholz, Game, Fish & Parks, 773-4508
Pat Snyder, Environment & Natural Resources, 773-4729
State issues consumption advisory for Lake Hurley largemouth bass
PIERRE – The state is recommending anglers limit their consumption of largemouth bass 18 inches and longer from Lake Hurley in Potter County due to mercury levels exceeding 1 part per million (ppm). Recent testing of game fish in the lake found mercury levels exceeded the 1 ppm limit 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.
State consumption advisories are also in effect for fish from Bitter Lake near Waubay in Day County, Lake Isabel on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in Dewey County, and the Twin Lakes area in Kingsbury County. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe also has a consumption advisory in place for Lake Isabel. 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.