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Fish consumption advisories for freshwater anglers

Florida’s freshwater and marine fishes are generally considered safe to eat. The American Heart Association recommends eating two meals of fish or seafood every week, though eating certain fish can be unhealthy, as they can accumulate mercury and other contaminants from their environment. Mercury poses little danger at the low to moderate levels found in most Florida fish. However, developing fetuses and young children are more sensitive to the harmful effects mercury has on the brain. As a result, women of childbearing age and young children should eat fish with lower mercury levels. By choosing a variety of fish, both low in mercury and from different water bodies, anglers can enjoy the health benefits without significant risk.

Count all fish meals from all water bodies

A fish meal is 6 ounces of cooked fish. Fish eaten from different sources count toward the consumption guidelines and should be added together.

Basic Guidelines for Eating Freshwater Fish

The following Basic Eating Guidelines provide general advice to anglers from all untested fresh waters in the state. For more detailed guidance for all untested fresh waters, consult the Florida Department of Health publication Basic Guidelines for Eating Freshwater Fish (bit.ly/FreshwaterAdvice) or call 850-245-4401.

Women of childbearing age & young children

Eat 1 meal per week of these fish with very low mercury:

Eat 1 meal per month of these fish with low mercury:

  • Black crappie
  • Channel catfish
  • White catfish
  • Redbreast sunfish
  • Spotted sunfish
  • Warmouth
  • Mayan cichlid
  • Chain pickerel

Women of childbearing age and young children should consume no more than one meal per month of black bass and largemouth bass. They should also avoid eating bass larger than 14 inches from the South black bass fishing zone and from certain other areas. They should avoid eating bowfin and gar. For specific location guidelines for black bass and other species not listed here see Your Guide to Eating Fish Caught in Florida at bit.ly/GuideToEatingFish.

Women not planning to be pregnant & men

Eat 2 meals per week of these fish with very low mercury:

Eat 1 meal per week of these fish with low mercury:

  • Black crappie
  • Channel catfish
  • White catfish
  • Spotted sunfish
  • Warmouth
  • Mayan cichlid
  • Chain pickerel

Eat black bass and largemouth bass up to once per week. Eat fewer meals of bass larger than 14 inches from the South black bass fishing zone and from certain other areas. Avoid eating bowfin and gar. For specific location guidelines for black bass and other species not listed here see Your Guide to Eating Fish Caught in Florida at
bit.ly/GuideToEatingFish.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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