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2011-09-15

TDSHS Offers Fish Consumption Bans & Advisories

Courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.

Fish and shellfish can be a source of high quality protein in your diet. Both, however, can accumulate contaminants from the waters in which they live. The Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) monitors fish in the state for the presence of environmental contaminants and alerts the public through bans (closures) and advisories when a threat to human health may occur from the consumption of contaminated fish.

Typically, fish and shellfish do not contain levels of contaminants high enough to cause an imminent threat to health even after a few meals.
Health risks from contaminants may increase for people who regularly consume larger fish and predatory fish from one area of contaminated water over a long period of time. To reduce health risks in areas of contamination, people should consume fish from a variety of waterbodies and should generally eat smaller fish. Following TDSHS guidelines and recommendations will significantly decrease health risks and allow a maximum level of protection for persons consuming fish from areas of known contamination.

Consumption bans and advisories are updated by the TDSHS as needed. In waters with consumption bans, possession and consumption of fish and/or shellfish is prohibited. Catch and release fishing from these areas is allowed. A consumption advisory is a recommendation to limit consumption to specified quantities, species, and sizes of fish. For more information, visit the TDSHS website or call the TDSHS at (800) 685-0361 (shellfish) or (512) 834-6757 (fish).

Fish Consumption Bans

The possession of all species of fish and crabs is prohibited from the following areas. Catch and release of fish and crabs from these areas is lawful: portions of upper Lavaca Bay in Calhoun County, the Donna Irrigation System in Hidalgo County, Echo Lake in Tarrant County.

Fish Consumption Advisories

TDSHS recommends limiting consumption of certain fish in these areas as indicated below:

Gulf of Mexico
All Texas Coastal Waters

• Chemical of Concern: Mercury. King mackerel greater than 43 inches in total length should not be consumed. For king mackerel 37 to 43 inches in total length, adults should limit consumption to no more than one, 8-ounce meal per week. Women of child-bearing age and children should limit consumption to not more than one, 8-ounce meal per month. King mackerel less than 37 inches in total length are safe for unrestricted consumption.

Flower Garden Banks

Based on a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory, the TDSHS advises recreational anglers to avoid consumption of certain fish species captured in the vicinity of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

South Texas
Lower Leon Creek in San Antonio, Bexar County,

• Chemicals of Concern: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Persons should not consume any species of fish from Leon Creek starting at the Old US 90 bridge downstream to the Loop 410 bridge.

Central Texas
Canyon Lake in Comal County

• Chemical of Concern: Mercury. For striped bass and longnose gar, adults and children 12 and older are advised to eat no more than two 8-ounce servings per month. Children under 12 should eat no more than two 4-ounce servings per month. Pregnant women, women who could become pregnant and mothers who are breastfeeding are advised not to eat any striped bass or longnose gar from the lake.

Houston/Galveston Area
Lake Isabell in Harris County Chemical of Concern: Mercury. Adults should limit consumption of largemouth bass to no more than two 8-ounce servings per month.

Children under 12 years old should limit consumption to no more than two 4-ounce servings per month. Women who are nursing, pregnant or who may become pregnant should not consume largemouth bass from Lake Isabell.

Clear Creek in Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston and Harris counties, Chemical of Concern:

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Persons should not consume any species of fish from these waters.
Galveston Bay including Chocolate Bay, East Bay, West Bay, Trinity Bay and contiguous waters Chemicals of Concern: Dioxin and Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

For all catfish species and spotted seatrout, adults should limit consumption to no more than one, 8-ounce meal per month. Women who are nursing, pregnant, or who may become pregnant and children should not consume catfish or spotted seatrout from these waters.

Houston Ship Channel upstream of the Lynchburg Ferry crossing and all contiguous water including the San Jacinto River below U.S. Highway 90 bridge.

• Chemicals of Concern: Dioxin, Organochlorine pesticides, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

For all species of fish and blue crabs, adults should limit consumption to no more than one, 8-ounce meal per month. Women of child-bearing age and children under 12 should not consume any fish or blue crabs from this area.

Houston Ship Channel downstream of the Lynchburg Ferry crossing and all contiguous waters including Upper Galveston Bay north of a line drawn from Red Bluff Point to Five Mile cut Marker to Houston Point Chemicals of Concern:

Dioxin and Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). For spotted seatrout, blue crabs and all catfish species, adults should limit consumption to no more than one, 8-ounce meal per month.

Children under 12 and women of childbearing age should not consume spotted seatrout, blue crabs, or any catfish species from this area.