In light of the new year, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism are issuing revised fish consumption advisories for locally caught fish. 

Statewide, Kansas recommends certain restrictions due to mercury found in fish. Sensitive populations should restrict consumption of all types of locally caught fish to one meal per week. In terms of specific breeds, regarding largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass sensitive populations should restrict to one meal per month and the general public should restrict to one meal per week. 

The state has also released updates on waterbody specific advisories for particular bodies of water found in Kansas. Kansas recommends not eating specified fish or aquatic life from the following locations:

The Kansas River — From Lawrence downstream to Eudora, do not eat bottom-feeding fish because of polychlorinated biphenyls. Bottom-feeding fish include buffalos, carp, carpsuckers, catfish, and sturgeons. 

The Spring River — From the confluence of Center Creek to the Kansas/Oklahoma border, do not eat shellfish due to lead and cadmium.

Shoal Creek — From the Missouri/Kansas border to Empire Lake in Cherokee County, do not eat shellfish due to lead and cadmium.

Cow Creek — From Hutchinson downstream to the confluence with the Arkansas River in Reno County, do not eat shellfish due to lead and cadmium.

The Arkansas River — From the Lincoln Street dam in Wichita downstream to the confluence of Cowskin Creek in Sedwick and Sumner counties, do not eat bottom-feeding fish due to polychlorinated biphenyls. 

Antioch Park Lake South — In Antioch Park, Johnson County, avoid all fish because of pesticides. 

In addition to these updates, Kansas also offers some general advice for how to eat and prepare locally caught Kansas fish. For starters, it is stressed that populations sensitive to mercury should limit their intake of both locally caught and supermarket fish. Exposure to mercury can be limited by avoiding consumption of large predatory fish, which are more likely to have higher concentrations of mercury. Furthermore, limit consumption of non-fillet parts when eating bottom-feeding fish. The fatty internal organs generally accumulate higher levels of fat-soluble contaminants. To limit this even further, trim fat from fillets and cook the fish fillet in a way that will cause the fat to drip away. 

For further information on fish consumption advisories and for more information from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, visit www.kdheks.gov/befs/fish_tissue_monitoring.htm.