Last week, Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler was at Marblehead Lighthouse State Park to announce the state’s new guidelines for eating fish caught from Ohio’s lakes, rivers and streams, reflecting notable improvements in the waters of the state.
Among the notable improvements from fish data collected last summer: do not eat advisories were removed for the Ottawa River (Toledo) for all species and replaced with less strict recommendations – a sign of improved conditions.
“The types of fish you find in a river are great indicators of the health of the water and the Ottawa River in Toledo represents one of Ohio’s great ongoing success stories,” Director Butler said. “Through state and local cleanup efforts, and with help from federal funding through programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, we are now able to remove the comprehensive do not eat fish advisory for the Ottawa River that was put in place in 1991. As we know, however, there is still more work to do to improve water quality throughout Lake Erie and Ohio River watersheds.”
Fish can be part of a healthy diet and evaluations of fish tissue are showing some places where anglers can eat all of certain varieties of fish that they can legally catch. Unless otherwise notated in the new recommendations, a general advisory is in place that recommends limiting one meal each week of Ohio-caught fish. Some areas in this year’s Ohio fish study were evaluated for the first time, and the general advisory was applied as a baseline. Waterbodies recognized as improved or less restrictive than the one fish per week recommendation for certain species include: Atwood, Belmont and Loramie lakes, as well as the Huron, Ottawa and Walhonding rivers.
Ohio EPA partners with Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Department of Natural Resources to develop the Sport Fish Consumption Advisory. Additional information about fish consumption safety for women of child-bearing age, pregnant and nursing mothers, and children under 15 can be found at Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Centers, local health departments, Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources regional offices.
The 2017 fish consumption advisory information is available online. Printed copies can be requested by calling (614) 644-2160.