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posted on July 26, 2012 15:29

Updated Fish Advisory Issued for Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir

The Idaho Division of Public Health is revising its fish advisory for Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir in south-central Idaho because of updated sampling and testing for mercury.

An advisory for mercury in fish from Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir has been in place since 2004. Recent sampling and testing of various sizes of fish has prompted the revision. 

The new advisory suggests women who are pregnant, wanting to become pregnant, women who are nursing, and children younger than 15 years of age can now consume up to two meals per month of walleye if the fish are less than 16 inches. The recommendation to not eat walleye (16 inches or larger) and smallmouth bass remains in effect for these women and children. The general population also is advised to limit their meals of some fish species from the reservoir to avoid exposure to mercury. The revised guidelines show the meals per month that can be safely eaten from Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir:

Fish Species

Number of Meals* Per Month

Pregnant women, women who are nursing or planning to become pregnant and children under 15 years of age:

General Population (people not in first group):

Rainbow Trout

6

22

Smallmouth Bass

Do Not Eat

6

Walleye (under 16 inches)

2

10

Walleye (16-20 inches)

Do Not Eat

6

Walleye (over 20 inches)

Do Not Eat

2

Yellow Perch

2

10

*Meal size = 4 ounces for adults and 2.25 ounces for children

A list of other specific water body fish advisories can be found on Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s website (www.fishadvisory.dhw.idaho.gov).

DHW advises that the benefits of eating fish are great, and Idahoans should not stop eating fish. But they should choose carefully the type and amount of fish they eat. Fish are low in fat, high in protein and have many beneficial nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends that individuals eat 2-3 servings a week of fish, including shellfish, to improve heart health. But mercury can affect the development of children’s nervous systems and their ability to learn, and Idaho health officials are advising the public to follow the suggested eating guidelines so the benefits of eating fish outweigh the potential harm.

General safe fish eating recommendations:

  • Eat smaller, younger fish because they have less mercury and other contaminants.
  • Eat fewer fish that feed on other fish (such as bass, walleye, catfish, large brown trout) because these fish typically have higher levels of mercury.
  • To reduce potential contaminants other than mercury, cut away the skin and fat before cooking.
  • Check the DHW website (www.fishadvisory.dhw.idaho.gov) for specific water body advisories and follow that guidance.
  • If there is no advisory for the lake or stream where you are fishing, women of reproductive age and children can eat up to two meals of fish from that water a week and avoid eating any other fish.
  • For a safe eating guide to store-bought fish, see the DHW website (www.fishadvisory.dhw.idaho.gov) and click on Safe Fish Eating Guidelines for Pregnant Women and Children.

For more information, please call DHW’s Environmental Health Education and Assessment Hotline at 1-866-240-3553.