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Fish Consumption Guidelines

Fishing Regulations California Freshwater Fishing

SAFE EATING GUIDELINES

OEHHA gives special guidelines for women ages 18-45 and children 1-17 years because children and fetuses are more sensitive to chemicals. Women 46 years and over and men 18 years and older have less risk and can safely eat more fish, as shown below.

The consumption guidelines in the tables below are based on the chemicals noted in each table. Fish consumption recommendations in the following tables are provided as the number of servings per week. A serving is about the size and thickness of your hand. Give children smaller servings.

The consumption guidelines that follow for each species and area assume that no other fish are being eaten in the same week.

The following safe eating guidelines are for freshwater and anadromous waters only.

OEHHA’s guidelines for marine waters can be found in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations.

If you do not see the water body where you fish in the following tables. Please visit the OEHHA website at www.oehha.ca.gov/fish for additional water bodies.

FISH ARE NUTRITIOUS AND GOOD FOR YOU TO EAT

Fish are an excellent source of protein and beneficial fats, and are recommended as part of a healthy, balanced diet. It is important, however, to choose the fish you eat wisely.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) provides the guidelines below. For more information, visit the OEHHA website at www.oehha.ca.gov/fish or call (916) 324-7572.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a joint Federal Advisory for Mercury in Fish for fish you buy at stores at stores and restaurants. The federal advisory can be found at http://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm110591.htm.

Fish Preparation and Consumption

  • Eat only the fillet portions of fish and the meat of crabs. Cook the fish thoroughly and allow juice to drain away. Do not eat the guts or internal organs because chemicals usually concentrate in these parts. Also, avoid frequent consumption of any reproductive parts such as eggs or roe. If you make stews or chowders, use fillet parts.
  • Many chemicals are stored in the fat. When advisories are based on PCBs or pesticides (DDTs or dieldrin), skin the fish, when possible, do not eat the skin, and trim any visible fat to reduce the levels of these chemicals. Removing fat will not reduce mercury levels.

STATEWIDE ADVICE FOR EATING FISH FROM LAKES AND RESERVOIRS WITHOUT SITE-SPECIFIC ADVICE

SERVINGS PER WEEK

Species

Women ages 18-45 and children 1-17 years

Women 46 years and older and men 18 years and older

Non-Anadromous Fish**

Advice based on mercury

Black bass, carp, or brown trout over 16 inches or

0

1

Bullhead, catfish, bluegill or other sunfish, or brown trout 16 inches or less or

1

2

Rainbow trout

2

6

Anadromous Fish**Advise based on mercury or PCBs

Advice based on mercury or PCBs

White sturgeon or

0

1

Striped bass or

0

2

Chinook (king) salmon or steelhead trout* or

2

7

American shad

3

7