The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the latest tests show fish hooked in Iowa’s streams and rivers are safe for most people to eat. Some states have had to issue warnings about the level of mercury in their fish, but Marion Conover of the Iowa D-N-R says that’s not the case here. He says the levels of mercury in Iowa are substantially lower than surrounding states. He says there is some information that pregnant women, those planning on becoming pregnant, and children 12 years old and younger should restrict the amount of fish they eat. Conover says they recommend people in those groups eat no more than one meal per week of fish that could be a source of mercury. Those fish include smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, sauger, northern pike and muskie. Conover says anyone else should have no concerns about eating what they catch. He says fish remain a smart choice for people as he says they’ve worked with the Department of Public health and continue to recommend fish as part of a healthy diet. Conover says there are a couple of places they advise against eating fish based on special circumstances. He says they have consumption advisories out for Cedar Lake in Cedar Rapids and Ottumwa Lagoon in Ottumwa because of high levels of the pesticide chlordane. Conover says other than those two areas, fish in Iowa are as safe as anything you’ll eat. He says they use the Food and Drug Administration action levels when testing fish — the same standards that are used for meat, poultry and fish you buy at the grocery store. Conover they’ve been testing fish from Iowa waters for 25 years.
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