Kansas issues fish consumption advisories

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) issue fish consumption advisories for 2022.

Getting outside to catch and eat fish has many health benefits, but all fish contain some amount of mercury.

Anyone who routinely eats fish or serves fish to their children should carefully consider the types and amounts they eat. This is also true for store-bought fish.

Women who are pregnant or nursing, as well as children under the age of 17 years old, should follow the presented guidelines for eating fish caught in Kansas due to mercury sensitivity.

Fishing and eating guidelines

  • Eat smaller portions – a fillet about the size of your palm.
  • Eat types of fish with less mercury (Preferred Choice Fish in the list below).
  • If you don’t know the type or size of fish you are eating, wait at least a week before eating fish again.
  • When fishing, keep fish shorter than your forearm (fingertips to elbow) or less than 20 inches as regulations allow.

Preferred Choice Fish (1 or 2 servings per week)

  • Blue and Channel Catfish
  • Common Carp
  • Crappies
  • White Bass, White Perch, Wiper, Striped Bass
  • Walleye, Sauger, Saugeye
  • Bullhead Catfish
  • Drum
  • Sunfish (Bluegill, Green, Redear, etc.)

Second Choice Fish (1 or 2 servings per month)

  • Buffaloes (Black, Bigmouth, Smallmouth)
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Bass (Largemouth, Smallmouth, spotted)

Serving size (skinless fish fillets before cooking):

  • Adults and children age 13 and older = 8 ounces
  • Children age 6 to 12 = 4 ounces
  • Children younger than 6 = 2 ounces

For specific questions or concerns about mercury in Kansas fish, please contact KDHE.

River and creek concerns

The KDHE reccomends not eating specified fish or aqaudic life from the following locations:

  • Shoal Creek from the Missouri/Kansas border to Empire Lake (Cherokee County); shellfishdue to lead and cadmium.
  • Spring River from the confluence of Center Creek to the Kansas/Oklahoma border (Cherokee County); shellfish due to lead and cadmium.
  • Antioch Park Lake South in Antioch Park, Overland Park (Johnson County); all fish due to pesticides dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, chlordane and dichlorophenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs).
  • Arkalon Park Lakes in Liberal (Seward County) – Kansas recommends not eating any aquatic life because the lakes are sustained solely by treated municipal wastewater.
  • Arkansas River from the Lincoln Street dam in Wichita downstream to the confluence with Cowskin Creek near Belle Plaine (Sedgwick and Sumner counties); bottom-feeding fish and catfishes due to PCBs.

The KDHE also recommends restricting consumption of buffaloe, carp, catfish, sturgeon and suckers to one serving per week in the following locations:

  • Cow Creek in Hutchinson and downstream to the confluence with the Arkansas River (Reno County).
  • Kansas River from Lawrence (below Bowersock Dam) downstream to Eudora at the confluence of the Wakarusa River (Douglas and Leavenworth counties).
  • Little Arkansas River from the Main Street Bridge immediately west of Valley Center to the confluence with the Arkansas River in Wichita (Sedgwick County).

Reduce exposure to chemicals in fish

  • Keep smaller fish to eat and let the big ones go.
  • Avoid eating fish parts other than fillets.
  • Trim fat from fillets and/or use cooking methods that allows fat to drip away.
  • Avoid subsistence fishing (relying on wild-caught fish for daily nutritional needs) in rivers within or immediately downstream of large urban/industrial areas.
  • Do not eat fish or aquatic life from wastewater outfalls, waste treatment lagoons or stormwater retention ponds.

For information about the health benefits vs. the risks of including fish in your diet please visit this American Heart Association website https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/05/25/eating-fish-twice-a-week-reduces-heart-stroke-risk.

For information about fishing in Kansas including licensing, regulations, fishing reports and fishing forecasts please visit the KDWPT fishing website http://ksoutdoors.com/Fishing.

To view the advisories online and for information about KDHE’s Fish Tissue Contaminant Monitoring Program please visit the website at http://www.kdheks.gov/befs/fish_tissue_monitoring.htm.



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