Annually, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) evaluates the amount of contaminants in sport-caught fish and determines whether or not there are any health risks associated with eating fish from bodies of water in our state.
All fish contain some small amount of chemical contaminants. In most instances and for most people, the health benefits of eating fish outweigh the potential health risks from contaminants.
- Eat smaller, legal-size, younger fish because they tend to have lower levels of contamination than larger fish of the same species.
- Fillet your fish, remove the skin, and trim away fatty portions to minimize the amount of contaminants in the fish you eat.
The meal advice in the summarized advisory table below is based on this preparation technique. Because children are particularly sensitive to some contaminants, DHSS makes special recommendations for pregnant women, women of childbearing age, nursing mothers, and children under 13 years old. Other recommendations are for everyone.
The fish advisory may be revised throughout the year. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services offers updates and further details on contaminants and preparation techniques to minimize contaminants. You can contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology, PO Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65109-0570; 573-751-6102.
|Sensitive populations: Pregnant women, women of childbearing age, nursing mothers, and children under the age 13||All U.S. water bodies — mercury||All fish||All sizes||1 per week|
|Because all fish have various levels of mercury, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends sensitive populations consume no more than one fish meal per week when no other advisory is present.|
|Statewide — mercury||Largemouth, spotted, smallmouth bass, and walleye||Greater than 12"||1 per month|
|Flathead, channel, blue catfish||Greater than 30"||1 per month|
|Clearwater Lake in Reynolds County — mercury||White bass||Greater than 15"||1 per month|
|Crappie||Greater than 9"||1 per month|
|All consumers||Mississippi and Missouri rivers — PCBs, chlordane, mercury||Shovelnose sturgeon (excluding eggs)||All sizes||1 per month|
|Common carp||Greater than 21"||1 per week|
|Greater than 17"||1 per week|
|Sturgeon eggs||Do not eat.|
|Blue River from Minor Park to the Missouri River in Jackson County including Indian Creek up to Holmes Road — PCBs, chlordane||Common carp and catfish||All sizes||1 per month|
|Big River in St. Francois and Jefferson counties — lead||Sunfish2, carp, redhorse, and other suckers||All sizes||Do not eat.|
|Flat River in St. Francois County from Hwy. B, 6 miles downstream to where it enters Big River — lead||Sunfish2, carp, redhorse, and other suckers||All sizes||Do not eat.|
|Big Creek near Glover in Iron County — lead||Sunfish2||All sizes||Do not eat.|
|Simpson Park Lake at Simpson Park in St. Louis County —
mercury, chlordane, PCBs
|Buffalo species||Greater than 16"||1 per month|
|Lake Buteo in Johnson County — mercury, chlordane||Largemouth and smallmouth bass||All sizes||Do not eat.|
|Carp and catfish||All sizes||Do not eat|