The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has issued an advisory about eating fish from Pool 12 of the Mississippi River. Marion Conover, DNR chief of fisheries, says they’ve issued an advisory to limit the consumption of predator fish like walleye, sauger, bass, and northern pike, caught in the area of the Mississippi between Dubuque and Bellvue after getting the lab results of tissue samples from fish.
Conover says the samples had enough mercury content to trigger the advisory. He says they’re advising that people only eat one meal a week, four meals a month of fish caught in the areas. Conover says it’s not an acute problem. Conover says there’s not one source of mercury they can pinpoint that’s getting into the fish.
Conover says mercury is a natural element in the environment, and it’s also released by industrial pollution, such as burning coal. He says they don’t know exactly where the mercury is coming from, as experts say it could be drifting in from hundreds of miles away.
Conover says there aren’t any other consumption advisories on the Mississippi, and there are only seven consumption advisories across the state.
He says they do collect a lot of fish samples, and have a "relatively few" advisories. Conover says they have no advisories that ban eating fish altogether, and says he doesn’t think Iowa waters are bad and says it might be healthier to eat a fish caught in Iowa than some other meat products.
Consumption advisories for other waters in Iowa include chlordane in Cedar Lake in Cedar Rapids; chlordane in Ottumwa Lagoons in Ottumwa; mercury in Nine Eagles Lake in Decatur County; mercury in the Cedar River from Floyd County north to the Minnesota border; mercury in the Upper Iowa River from the lower dam in eastern Winneshiek County upstream 24 miles; and for mercury the Volga River, including the Little Volga and the North Branch Volga River from the town of Volga upstream in Clayton County.
For more information on fish consumption advisories, surf to the DNR’s fish and fishing website page.