Game and Fish updates fish consumption recommendations

CHEYENNE, Wyo.– The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Department of Health have released updated guidelines for anglers who eat fish caught in Wyoming waters.

According to Game and Fish, the new fish consumption guidelines provide recommendations on healthy portions of fish while limiting mercury consumption to safe levels.

The guidelines recommend up to two to three servings of fish per week from the “best choices” list or one serving from the “good choices” list for adults. The department recommends that children eat two servings a week from the “Top Picks” list.

To determine mercury levels in Wyoming sport fish, Game and Fish collected tissue samples from each species of fish in state waters. The samples were sent to the EPA lab in Golden, Colorado for testing.

“Game and Fish focused sampling on priority waters where many people keep and eat their catch and on species that people eat frequently such as trout, walleye, sauger, yellow perch and crappie,” said Travis Neebling, a fisheries biologist with the aquatic assessment team who led the sample collection. “These fish come mainly from lakes and reservoirs.”

According to Game and Fish, mercury is a widespread and naturally occurring element, and some soil and geological formations naturally have higher levels of mercury. Most mercury pollution occurs as atmospheric deposition related to energy consumption and production and industrial processes. Mercury can also enter Wyoming waters through household garbage, batteries, mining and industrial waste. Once in a lake, mercury is converted to methylmercury by bacteria and other processes. Fish absorb methylmercury into their tissues from food and water. Mercury levels increase as fish get bigger and older. Predatory fish such as walleye, burbot and large trout often accumulate more mercury because they eat other fish. There is no method of cooking or cleaning fish that reduces the amount of mercury in a meal.

The ministry also released a chart on mercury levels in store-bought fish supplied to restaurants.

About Jean R. Manzer

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