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Fish Consumption Guidelines

Fishing Regulations New Hampshire Freshwater Fishing

Is it Safe to Eat the Fish?

Fish Consumption Guidelines

Fish can be an important part of a healthy diet, but some fish contain varying levels of pollutants including mercury. Because of this, the N.H. Department of Environmental Services recommends the following guidelines for eating freshwater fish that you catch in New Hampshire:

  • Pregnant and nursing women, and women who may become pregnant, can safely eat ONE, 8-ounce meal of freshwater fish per month.
  • Children under age 7 can safely eat ONE, 4-ounce meal of freshwater fish per month.
  • All other adults and children age 7 and older can safely eat FOUR 8-ounce meals of freshwater fish per month.
  • When eating bass, pickerel, white perch, or yellow perch, limit consumption to fish 12 inches or less in length while following the above guidelines.

Stocked trout contains relatively low levels of mercury. For rainbow and brown trout, women of childbearing age and children under age 7 can safely eat ONE 4-ounce meal per week; others can eat SIX 8-ounce meals per week. Brook trout could be either stocked or from a native population, and therefore should be consumed at the rate of the general freshwater advisory above.

Fish from a number of waterbodies in New Hampshire have been shown to have higher than average concentrations of mercury or other contaminants. For a complete list of water bodies with restrictions, go to des.nh.gov (search “fish consumption” in the A to Z list).

Additional consumption guidelines have been issued because of concern for PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) contamination in several locations.

  • For Country Pond in Kingston, the following guidelines are recommended:
    • Children under age 7 (4-ounce meals) and women of childbearing age (8-ounce meals) should eat no more than SIX meals per year and no more than ONE meal in any one month of large and smallmouth bass; for all other fish species eat no more than ONE meal per month.
    • For all other adults and children age 7 and older, for large and smallmouth bass eat no more than SIX 8-ounce meals per year; for all other fish species up to TWENTY-ONE 8-ounce meals per year can be eaten.
  • For the Souhegan River from the Goldman Dam to one mile upriver near Riverway East located off of Elm Street in Milford it is recommended that anglers not eat, but catch and release unharmed, any fish caught in this section of the river.

In addition, NO fish should be consumed from the Androscoggin River from Berlin south to the Maine border due to potential dioxin and mercury contamination.

For more information on freshwater and saltwater guidelines, contact:

N.H. Department of Environmental Services
Environmental Health Program
(603) 271-1370
des.nh.gov (search “fish consumption” in the A to Z list)