With the fishing season kicking into gear, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has issued its annual fish consumption advisory for fish caught in Connecticut waters. DPH reminds anglers that some of the most popular species of fish have relatively little contamination and are safe to eat up to two times a week.
“Fish are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient thought to be protective of heart disease and, in pregnant women, beneficial to the developing fetus,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “By reviewing our guide and following our advisories, you can continue to safely eat fish and reap their health benefits.”
If I Catch It, Can I Eat It? A Guide to Safe Eating of Fish Caught in Connecticut includes advice for pregnant women and children, who are considered high risk groups, to eat no more than one meal per month of freshwater fish caught in Connecticut. All other groups are advised to eat no more than one meal per week of freshwater fish caught in the state. Trout less than 15 inches are excluded from this advisory.
This advice is due to mercury contamination found in Connecticut freshwater fish. In addition, the advice recommends limiting or avoiding striped bass and bluefish caught in Long Island Sound due to PCB contamination. The guide includes a listing of other water bodies and species of fish in Connecticut with specific consumption recommendations.
The majority of trout caught in Connecticut are grown in hatcheries and therefore have very little contamination. Trout less than 15 inches in size are considered safe to eat, even for pregnant women. Large trout (larger than 15 inches) may have been in rivers and lakes longer and had greater exposure to contaminants. These large trout should not be eaten more than once a month by pregnant women or children.
Most saltwater species caught in Long Island Sound, including blackfish (tautog), scup (porgies), fluke and flounder, have very little contamination and are safe to eat. Two other saltwater species found in the Long Island Sound, striped bass and bluefish, are considered contaminated with Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) and have recommended consumption limits.
The guide also provides advice on consuming sushi and commercial fish sold in grocery stores and restaurants. Available in English and Spanish, the guide can be found along with other useful information regarding the safe consumption of fish on the DPH website at www.ct.gov and at most tackle shops and town clerks offices. To obtain a copy of the guide, please call (860) 509-7740 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.