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John S.

Another reason to catch and release

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Seven East Coast states are advising pregnant women and young children to avoid eating striped bass and large bluefish caught recreationally in state waters because of high PCB levels in the migratory fish.

 

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that pregnant women, women who may get pregnant, nursing mothers and children under 8 should avoid the fish altogether. Everybody else is being warned to limit consumption to four meals a year.

 

Maine officials say similar advisories are being issued in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

 

Maine's previous bluefish and striped bass advisory was issued in 2000, when people were advised to limit consumption to no more than two meals per month.

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Isn't it great that you can generally keep two fish a day (not sure what Maine's regs are), but the state govt says you should only eat a few portions a year. Now that makes a lot of sense to me. kooky.gif

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Delaware Joins Six Other East Coast States in Issuing

Health Advisories for Striped Bass and Bluefish Consumption

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, in conjunction with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, is updating a fish consumption advisory for striped bass and continuing to maintain the state's current advisory for bluefish. The advisories for both popular species commonly caught in Atlantic coastal waters as well as the Delaware Bay and River are issued today in collaboration with six other states from New England down through the Mid-Atlantic.

 

Delaware's new advisories recommend that those in high risk groups, pregnant women, women who may become pregnant and children under the age of six, not eat striped bass caught from Delaware's Atlantic coastal waters. Delaware previously issued advisories recommending that high risk groups not consume striped bass caught from the Delaware River and Bay and this advice also remains in effect. The new advice for Atlantic coastal waters reflects the advice given by the majority of other states along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Maryland.

 

For people not in the high risk groups, consumption of striped bass should be limited to no more than two meals per year for stripers caught in the Delaware Bay (revised from one meal per year in 2008) and, also for the first time, Atlantic coastal waters. The public is also reminded that no one should consume striped bass or any other fish caught from the Delaware River between the mouth of the C&D Canal and the Delaware/Pennsylvania/New Jersey state line north of Wilmington, longstanding advice for that section of the river that remains in effect.

 

With bluefish, Delaware's advisories remain the same as in 2008: those in high risk groups are advised to not eat bluefish larger than 14 inches caught from the Delaware Bay and Atlantic coastal waters. For people not in the high risk groups, the public is advised to eat no more than one meal per year of large bluefish caught from the Delaware Bay and Atlantic coastal waters. With small bluefish measuring less than 14 inches, which contain less contaminants, Delaware advisories recommend up to one meal per month for all groups.

 

"There is a connection between what we do on the land and the health of the fish. Our goals are to clean up remaining sources of PCBs and other contaminants, accelerate improvement in the fish, and ultimately lift or relax some of these advisories. For now, however, the advisories are necessary to protect public health," said DNREC Secretary Collin O'Mara.

"Fish is a rich source of protein, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, and eating local fish is a great way to enjoy its healthful benefits. Unfortunately, fish can contain harmful contaminants, so we encourage the public to follow these consumption guidelines to help them make informed choices about the best way to incorporate local fish into their diets," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of Delaware's Division of Public Health.

Similar advisories are being issued today by Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland. These states are all instructing pregnant women and young children to not eat striped bass and large bluefish, and are advising the general public to moderate consumption.

 

According to Delaware officials, large bluefish (measuring more than 14 inches) and striped bass of any size within state legal limits caught in the Delaware River and Bay as well as along the Atlantic coast contain concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are of potential health concern to the general public and especially to those considered at high risk from contaminants as defined above.

 

In addition to PCBs, these fish are also known to contain other contaminants that contribute to health risks, including mercury, which can affect brain and nervous system development in fetuses, infants and children. PCBs can affect the endocrine system and brain development, and have been found to be carcinogenic in animal studies.

Once widely used as coolants in electric transformers and capacitors, among other commercial and industrial uses, PCBs are no longer manufactured in the United States but they are still in use, primarily in old electrical equipment. Accidental release and poor disposal practices in the past have resulted in widespread contamination problems, as evident from levels in striped bass and large bluefish along the entire northeastern and Mid-Atlantic coast.

Delaware's updated fish consumption advisory for 2009 stems from a multi-state report finalized in late 2008 which catalogued PCB data for striped bass and bluefish from Maine to Georgia. The report also shows that these fish are not particularly good sources of beneficial fish oils. Compared to other fish, striped bass and bluefish have lower amounts of omega-3 fatty acids relative to the amount of PCBs they contain.

PCB levels in the environment are generally declining, but at a slow rate. The seven states involved in these new advisories will continue to monitor PCB levels and will modify consumption advisories as needed in the future. Delaware officials will continue to track down and control sources of PCBs within their jurisdiction.

 

For more information, contact Rick Greene, DNREC Division of Water Resources, 302-739-9939. Information is also posted online at www.fw.delaware.gov/Fisheries/Pages/Advisories.aspx .

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I guess MA and NY are not included because there are other far more deadly activities you can do there that will get you dead far faster than eating fish. lg_smile.gif

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Unfortuantely, I have not been at risk of consuming too much Rockfish in the last couple of years.

 

However, isn't it true that you can alleviate a good bit of the risk by cutting away the belly fat from your fillets? I remember reading that most of the contaminants are carried in that area.

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Good, if not depressing information. I have to read up. There have to be things we can do to help. When you can't eat fish that have been safely consumed for hundreds of thousands of years......cwm31.gif

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This past Memorial Weekend I cooked 2 bluefish over 14 inches...I guess I've had my quota for the year.

 

I caught a tagged bluefish two years ago in Delaware, it was in NY Harbor three weeks before I caught it. All bluefish on the Eastern seaboard are probably off limits.

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