Are fish from the Chattahoochee safe to eat? - WRBL

Are fish from the Chattahoochee safe to eat?

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

Some fish caught in the Chattahoochee may not be safe to eat, at least with any frequency.

Experts say the issue with some fish in the Chattahoochee River is how often you should eat them. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources suggests you follow restrictions on consumption.

What you need to know is that on the river north of I-85, the only restriction is on striped bass, which are meant to be consumed no more than once a week.

On the river south of I-85, there is a restriction of no more than once a month consumption on largemouth bass. Any bullhead fish caught should not be consumed more than once a week.

Roger Martin, the Executive Director of the Chattahoochee RiverWarden, says the fish are fine to eat, as long as you are aware of these restrictions.

"I'll eat fish from the river all day, a lot of people say 'I won't eat this,' but I'll eat them anytime," says Martin. "They're great eating fish and great for your health, just as long as you do it in moderation."

Traces of chemicals like mercury are found in fish in certain areas. Mercury is a naturally occurring poisonous metal that is released into the environment from industrial sources. When mercury accumulates in waterways, fish ingest it and it builds up in their tissues.

"There is some mercury in certain types of fish in the Chattahoochee and you should only consume 1ML a week, any more than that isn't safe," says Martin.

Trace amounts of mercury won't affect most people, but high levels are a health risk for everyone, especially pregnant women. Martin says if you're pregnant, you shouldn't consume any fish that may contain mercury. 

Click here for the full report of fish consumption guidelines. 

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