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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ohio Updates Fish Advisories: Perch Mercury and PCBs Easing

COLUMBUS (TBD) -- Some of the environmental damage that has made it unhealthy to consume Ohio sports fish is easing. State officials say it is now generally safe to eat yellow perch and sunfish at least twice a week. The updated fish consumption advisory is HERE , and the saddest tidings are that walleye from the Ohio River still are dangerous if consumed more than once a month.

That's a bad break because walleye are considered by many the tastiest fish of all. Along with perch, they are often main dishes in communities near Lake Erie. The Ohio Valley communities don't yet share in the feast.

This year, the Ohio EPA has again put the advisories on the Web but is offering them in four languages -- English, Spanish, Korean and Chinese. State officials also plan to put them in booklets that are passed out when fishing licenses are sold. All an effort to cut down on the toxic hazards of years of chemical dumping, widespread neglect of Mother Nature's gifts and despoiling of land and waterways. It will be a long time, if ever, before fish can be eaten without warnings.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Health Department says mercury is the big problem, especially for women and children. "Fish advisories due to mercury are most serious for women of child-bearing age, pregnant and nursing mothers and children under age 15. Fish contaminated with high levels of mercury have been shown to cause neurological damage and impaired development of young children."

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