FLORENCE, Ky. — It’s a popular time for Kentuckians to hit their favorite fishing spots, but if they plan to eat what they catch, they need to be careful.
Roger Clemens (a Boone County fisherman, not the Major League Baseball pitcher) is one of the estimated 50 million people who go fishing each year.
But according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, every state in the country has advisories against eating fish caught in certain waterways because of high mercury levels.
Clemens tries to avoid those waterways.
“We don’t consume too many fish in the Ohio River due to that, but when we go to Lake Eerie, we have a slogan that it’s ‘catch and release in the grease.’ We just had a fish fry last weekend,” Clemens said.
A national survey estimates 19 million people in the U.S. who ate fish they caught themselves three or more times a week were exposed to mercury concentrations high enough to result in adverse health effects. That’s according to sustainable seafood company Safe Catch.
For that reason, Greg Watkins limits his consumption.
“I consume fish out of a lake about once every two months,” he said while fishing at Camp Ernst Lake in Florence. “I stay aware of all the environmental impacts, everything that goes on with the water. Not a lot of food or contaminants in here. They’ve done a few tests on it, and they are edible.”
It’s important to know where your fish are coming from—and what’s in them before they end up in you.
More fish consumption advice can be found on the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website.