EPA Fish Consumption Advisories - 1998
Source: Environmental Protection Agency - Index of Watershed Indicators
Map Description:
Fish consumption advisories are a good indicator of the condition of a watershed because they can represent bioaccumulation of toxic substances in fish and shellfish. Bioaccumulation is the process by which fish accumulate pollutants in their tissues by eating smaller organisms already contaminated with the pollutant. Pollutants can also enter fish and shellfish tissue directly from the surrounding water through their gills and skin. These pollutants cause fish and shellfish to be unsafe for human consumption.

States monitor fish to determine whether levels of contamination in fish tissue pose a threat to the health of the people who eat them. Where fish contamination levels exceed safe levels, States often issue advisories to the public recommending some limitation on fish consumption (generally restrictions on the number of meals over a period of time or the fish weight consumed over a period of time) or no consumption of fish at all. Advisories may also target a specific subpopulation at risk such as children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.

Cautions for this Product:
Fish consumption advisories are issued by State, Tribal, local, and federal governments and each uses its own criteria for determining when an advisory is warranted. In addressing these risks, advisories may reflect data from many or a few sites, may vary in the number and types of contaminants considered, may apply to only certain types of waterbodies, and may apply to only certain species or sizes of fish. Monitoring for fish tissue contamination may be concentrated in areas of most intense fishing or areas suspected of contamination.

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