Fish Consumption Advisories: Sign of the Times
Every time the state issues the list, I cringe.
The latest one came out earlier this month – an updated fish
consumption advisory for 2011, and it tells us which waterways are
basically contaminated to the point that we have to limit how
often, and how much, we can eat fish from those waters.
It’s a sad reflection on just how much damage we’ve done to our
environment over the years.
The new advisories for 2011 include a two meals per month limit on
smallmouth caught in parts of the Delaware River and largemouth
bass taken from Lackawanna Lake. If you want to eat a few
smallmouth bass from the Susquehanna River in Bradford and Wyoming
counties, you should only do so once a month thanks to mercury
contamination. The same holds true for largemouths taken from
Shohola Lake in Pike County.
In the northeast region alone, there are at least 15 consumption
advisories issued for rivers, lakes and streams, and it is more
far-reaching than just those waters that flow through urban
That’s what I find the most disturbing about the consumption
advisories list. It’s proof that the impact of pollution has spread
far beyond urban areas to remote places that, by appearance, seem
immune to the negative impacts of man.
Lily Lake in Luzerne County, for example, is a 160-acre impoundment
of clear water flanked by mountains and farmland. It is
picturesque, scenic and contaminated with mercury to the point that
if you want to eat largemouth bass, you should only do so twice a
Even more alarming is Lake Jean, located in Ricketts Glen State
Park in Luzerne and Sullivan counties. The only thing bordering
this remote, mountain lake is trees, yet mercury has also
infiltrated its waters as well.
Statewide there are more than 110 consumption advisories issued for
lakes, rivers and streams, in addition to a statewide advisory for
all sport fish and a blanket advisory for all stocked trout.
That’s a pretty long list, lengthy enough to make any angler