Pregnant or young child DO NOT EAT:
- King mackerel.
Sources of mercury
Small fish, big fish
- The amount of mercury in fish depends on the diet of the fish, the age of the fish and its location in the food chain. Mercury reaches higher concentrations in long-lived species and species of fish that eat other fish. Fish and shellfish are the main sources of mercury exposure to humans.
- Smaller fish generally contain less mercury than older and larger fish. Rainbow trout, crappies, and yellow perch usually have lower levels of mercury because they tend to feed on plants or smaller aquatic organisms.
- Predatory fish, such as walleye and lake trout, can accumulate more mercury because they eat other fish.
- Mercury is bonded to the proteins in the fish muscle. Therefore, there's no cleaning or cooking method that will reduce the amount of mercury in a fish.
- Some kinds of cooking can affect contaminants other than mercury. Some contaminants are stored in fish fat, and frying tends to seal these pollutants in. However, the EPA says if the fish is cooked in such a way that the fat is drained away, some of the pollutants can be removed.
Commercially available fish
All states have advisories
All 50 states have some form of advisory for elevated contaminant levels in locally caught fish. There are currently over 3,700 fish consumption advisories for mercury on lakes or streams in the United States. Many states have also issued site-specific guidelines, similar to Colorado’s, to better inform and protect the people of their state.