Albertans Urged To Limit Consumption Of Some Species Of Fish

October 23, 2009

Edmonton… Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has issued a public health advisory that recommends people avoid or limit their consumption of some species of fish caught from specific bodies of water in Alberta.Tests found high enough levels of mercury in certain fish to prompt the advisory. It is recommended pregnant women, women of child-bearing age and children do not eat walleye from the Pine Coulee, northern pike from Twin Valley Reservoirs in southern Alberta, walleye from the Red Deer River at the mouth of the Blindman River, and walleye, sauger and goldeye from the South Saskatchewan River at the Bindloss Ferry and Medicine Hat.

“While levels of methylmercury identified do not pose an immediate health threat, limiting consumption is the best way to reduce any long-term health risks,” said Dr. André Corriveau, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. “I recommend people who eat fish frequently from these bodies of water either avoid or limit their weekly consumption.”

Fish consumption advisories are based on test results received by Alberta Health and Wellness from Alberta Environment and the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program Committee. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development assists with the collection of fish for testing from provincial water bodies.

Mercury in fish in Alberta water bodies likely originates from natural sources. Once in a lake, mercury is converted to methylmercury by bacteria or chemical reactions. Fish absorb methylmercury from water as it passes through their gills, or from the prey they eat. Large predatory fish like walleye and northern pike accumulate more methylmercury as they consume smaller fish.

The Government of Alberta regularly issues and reviews fish consumption advisories for fish caught from local water bodies to help people make informed decisions about safe amounts of fish that can be consumed, while balancing the potential health risks and known health benefits of eating fish. Mercury advisories are included in the Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulation and at: (click on “helpful information”).


Backgrounders: Recommended fish consumption limits and methylmercury levels in Alberta fish.

Media inquiries north of Red Deer may be
directed to:
John Tuckwell, Communications
Alberta Health and Wellness

Media inquiries in Red Deer and south may be directed to:
Howard May, Communications
Alberta Health and Wellness

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.

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