Wyoming updates fish consumption advice for mercury levels


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (RELEASE) – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Department of Health have released updated guidelines for anglers who eat fish caught in Wyoming waters. The new fish consumption guidelines provide recommendations on healthy portions of fish while limiting mercury consumption to safe levels.

The 2022 drinking guidelines are simplified and consistent with Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration guidelines on mercury thresholds. The guidelines categorize recommendations by fish species and size into “best”, “good” and “best to avoid” categories.

The guidelines recommend up to two to three servings of fish per week from the “best choices” list OR one serving from the “good choices” list. Children can eat up to two servings of fish per week from the ‘best choices’ list. The recommendations are associated with portions according to age. Read the full recommendation on the Game and Fish website.

The new advisories are limited to information specific to sensitive people – including those who could become or are pregnant or breastfeeding and children under 12. There are no consumption restrictions for men over 12 years old. collected tissue samples from each species of fish in state waters.

The samples were sent to the EPA lab in Golden, Colorado for testing. and crappie,” said Travis Neebling, fisheries biologist with the Aquatic Assessment Team who led the sample collection. “These fish come mainly from lakes and reservoirs.”

Mercury is a widespread and natural element, and some soils and geologic formations naturally have higher levels of mercury. Most mercury pollution occurs as atmospheric deposition related to energy consumption and production and industrial processes. Mercury can also enter Wyoming waters through household garbage, batteries, mining and industrial waste.

Once in a lake, mercury is converted to methylmercury by bacteria and other processes. Fish absorb methylmercury into their tissues from food and water. Mercury levels increase as fish get bigger and older. Predatory fish such as walleye, burbot and large trout often accumulate more mercury because they eat other fish.

There is no method of cooking or cleaning fish that reduces the amount of mercury in a meal. Game and Fish routinely monitors mercury levels in Wyoming fish to ensure guidelines keep anglers safe.

(Sara DiRienzo, Public Information Officer – ([email protected]))

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