The Health Benefits of Eating Fish
Sport fish caught in Georgia are generally good quality and safe to eat. Fish provide a high protein, low fat diet which is low in saturated fats. Fish may have substantial health benefits when they replace a high fat source of protein in the diet.
What are the Guidelines?
Georgia DNR samples fish from water bodies each year to test for contaminants such as PCBs, chlordane, and mercury. Many of the fish tested have few or no contaminants and are safe to eat. Waters where fish have been tested and found to be clean are listed to the right. Fish from waters listed in the tables had some level of contaminants so you should restrict the amount of fish you eat from these waters. Recommendations are made to limit how often you eat a meal of fish from these sources to either once per week or month. A meal of fish is about 4 to 8 ounces. These guidelines are based on eating fish from a listed area for at least 30 years. That is because it would take months or years of regularly eating contaminated food to accumulate levels in your body that would affect your health.
“One meal per week” means that eating a 4- to 8-ounce serving no more than once per week should cause no significant health risks.
Special Notice for Pregnant Women, Nursing Mothers and Children
If you are pregnant or a nursing mother, or plan to become pregnant soon, you and also children under 6 years of age are sensitive to the effects of some contaminants. Women and children in these categories may wish to eat fish less often than recommended in the tables.
How to Reduce Your Health Risk
Eat smaller fish and vary the kind of fish you eat. Contaminants build up in top predators (bass), bottom feeders (catfish), and older (larger) fish to a greater extent than panfish, such as bream and crappie.
Clean and cook fish properly. Some chemicals have a tendency to concentrate in the fatty tissues of fish. By removing the fish’s skin and trimming the fat, you can substantially reduce contaminants.
Cook fish so fat drips away. Broil, bake, or grill fish and do not use the drippings. Deep-fat frying removes some contaminants, but discard the oil once you have cooked the fish. Pan frying removes few contaminants.
Guidelines for Georgia
The following tables list the current guidelines for eating fish for lakes and rivers in Georgia. Please note: Lakes and rivers listed on this page (above) have been tested and the fish found to contain little or no contamination. If the lake or stream where you fish is listed in the following tables. It is safe to eat the amount listed for a given species from that body of water. Water bodies are listed alphabetically.
Fish Have Been Tested From The Following Water Bodies and No Restrictions on Consumption Are Recommended