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According to the Arkansas Department of Health, anglers pursuing walleye on Bull Shoals Lake in Marion, Baxter and Boone counties, and Norfork Lake in Baxter and Fulton counties may want to pay attention to the amount of fish they consume from these lakes. Last week, the ADH issued a fish consumption advisory for large walleye in these two north Arkansas reservoirs.
The advisory comes after walleye tested from these two lakes were found to contain higher than normal levels of mercury. The fish were collected by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and tested by the Arkansas Division of Environmental Quality.
According to the advisory high-risk groups (pregnant women, breastfeeding women, women planning to be pregnant and children under seven) should not eat walleye 18 inches or longer from these lakes. Women who do not intend to become pregnant, men and children seven years and older should eat no more than two meals per month of walleye 18 inches or longer from these lakes.
This advisory does not affect swimmers, skiers, boaters, catch-and-release activities, or other recreational uses and does not limit the use of Bull Shoals Lake or Norfork Lake as a drinking water source.
The ADH has scheduled a February 7 meeting at the Donald W. Reynolds Library in Mountain Home beginning at 5 p.m. to answer public questions on this advisory. Personnel with AGFC and ADEQ will be in attendance as well to answer questions related to their roles in the process.
More than 20 Arkansas waterbodies are under fish consumption advisories concerning mercury. All 50 states have consumption advisories for at least one fish species due to mercury. Eating fish with mercury will not make people sick right away, but as you eat more, it can build up in the body and potentially cause adverse health effects.
Fish are an important, low-fat source of protein. Knowing and following the fish consumption advisories allows you to safely keep fish as an important part of your diet.
For more information about fish consumption advisories in Arkansas, visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov and type ‘mercury’ in the Smart Search box located on the left hand side of the page. You may also visit Fish Consumption Advisories.