The California Environmental Protection Agency issued an advisory this week for fish caught at Lopez Lake due to levels of mercury found in the fish.
The agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) released the following recommendations for safely eating fish caught at the lake:
- Women ages 18-49 and children ages 1-17 may safely eat a maximum of seven total servings per week of Inland Silverside, sunfish species, or Threadfin Shad; or five total servings per week of brown bullhead or crappie; or two total servings per week of black bass species or Sacramento Sucker.
- Women ages 50 and older and men ages 18 and older may safely eat a maximum of seven total servings per week of Brown Bullhead, crappie, Inland Silverside, Sacramento Sucker, sunfish species, or Threadfin Shad, or four total servings per week of black bass species.
- One serving is an 8-ounce fish fillet, measured prior to cooking, which is roughly the size and thickness of your hand. Children should eat smaller servings. For small fish species, several individual fish may make up a single serving.
Mercury is a naturally occurring metal that accumulates in fish in the form of methylmercury, which can damage the brain and nervous system, especially in developing children and fetuses.
The OEHHA says eating fish in amounts slightly greater than the recommendations above is not likely to cause health problems if done occasionally, such as eating fish caught during an annual vacation.
For more information on the OEHHA's Fish Advisories in California, click here.