Which Fish Is It?
Did you know that fish location, species, and size can make a difference in the amount of contaminants there are in the fish you eat? Yes, contaminants can bioaccumulate in fish based on the time they spend in a specific body of water and how many other fish they eat.
Location is very important. Locations with current or historical pollution can increase the amount of contaminants in a specific water body and accumulate into the fish. Pollution contaminants can affect water near a site and the surrounding watershed. Just because we cannot see the pollution, it does not mean it's not there.
Fish species can tell us what specific habits and behaviors may increase their chances for accumulating contaminants from their diet or habitat. Fish low in the food chain like bluegill and crappie tend to be lower in mercury whereas the top level predators like bass, walleye, and catfish tend to have higher levels of mercury.
This is why the fish advisory gives specific fish size, species, and location listings for helping you decide how often or whether to eat your catch.
To help identify the type of fish you plan to eat, please refer here to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website.
Helpful tips! There are some ways to reduce the amount of contaminants you are exposed to in a specific fish you eat. One of the chemicals, PCB’s like to accumulate in the fat, skin, and organs of fish. Therefore, ways that we can reduce this chemical in the fish are to remove those parts of the fish and eat the portion lowest in contaminants, the fillet. Refer to the diagram below, from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on how to clean a fish. However, it’s important to mention that mercury is stored throughout the fish and these same tips may not reduce mercury amounts in the fish.
In some cultures, all parts of the fish are utilized for consumption. Therefore, our recommendations may not fit the needs of some groups outside of the general public's average consumption rates. Removing the below parts of the fish can help reduce exposures to contaminants.