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State issues consumption advisory for fish from five lakes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, August 31, 2011
 Pat Snyder, SD Department of Environment & Natural Resources, 773-4729
John Lott, SD Department of Game, Fish & Parks, 773-4508    
Clark Hepper, SD Department of Health, 773-4945          
State issues consumption advisory for fish from five lakes
PIERRE, S.D. – Based on test results showing mercury levels higher than 1 ppm (parts per million), state officials have issued consumption advisories for fish from five South Dakota lakes.
The affected lakes and fish species include:
·         Coal Springs Reservoir, Perkins County – northern pike over 25 inches;
·         Reid Lake, Clark County – walleye over 23 inches;
·         Opitz Lake Day County – northern pike over 26 inches;
·         Newell Lake, Butte County – northern pike over 18 inches; and
·         Lake Roosevelt, Tripp County – northern pike over 24 inches.
Advisories are already in effect for Newell Lake walleye 18 inches and larger and Lake Roosevelt largemouth bass over 18 inches.
Mercury passes up the aquatic food chain from invertebrates to bait fish and ultimately to predators like walleye and northern pike. Fish exposed to mercury contamination accumulate mercury in their flesh. Because larger and older predator fish are often those with the highest mercury concentrations, anglers can reduce their exposure to mercury by eating only smaller predators or panfish.  
When mercury levels in fish reach the 1 ppm level, 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. South Dakota uses the FDA action level to issue consumption information to the public.  
Fish is low in fat and a good source of high quality protein and other nutrients. It can be an important part of a balanced diet as long as consumers follow some simple consumption guidelines. When eating fish caught from waters with advisories in effect, the Department of Health recommends that healthy adults eat no more than 7 ounces per week and children younger than 7 no more than one 4-ounce meal of the specified fish per month. Women who plan to become pregnant, are pregnant or are breast-feeding should have no more than one 7-ounce meal per month. Seven ounces of fish is roughly the size of two decks of playing cards. 
Fish in South Dakota lakes and rivers are routinely screened for metals, pesticides, and PCBs through a collaborative effort of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Health. Of all the contaminants analyzed, mercury is currently the only concern; all other contaminants have been either non-detectable or found only in low concentrations.
For a list of other consumption advisories in effect and for more information about mercury and fish consumption, see http://doh.sd.gov/Fish.