The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has released new Eat Safe Fish guidelines for rainbow smelt and carp from seven different lakes across the state, including two in Livingston County.
The updated Eat Safe Fish guidelines recommend limiting the consumption of certain locally caught smelt and carp based on levels of chemicals found in the commonly eaten parts of the fish.
In Livingston County, the new Eat Safe Fish consumption guidelines for carp apply to Thompson Lake in Howell, which has a “Do Not Eat” advisory cautioning everyone to avoid eating carp from that body of water.
Meanwhile, Earl Lake in Oceola Township has a “Limited” advisory which means individuals under age 15, those with health problems such as cancer or diabetes and those who might have children in the next several years, are pregnant or are breastfeeding should avoid eating carp from Earl Lake. All other individuals should limit their consumption of carp from Earl Lake to one or two servings per year.
MDHHS says the new guidelines for carp are based on elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which take a very long time to break down in the environment and can build up in fish and in people who eat these fish.
Officials also released new rainbow smelt guidelines based on elevated levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) found in the smelt. PFOS is a chemical in the family of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and can build up in fish and in people who eat these fish.
The new Eat Safe Fish consumption guidelines for rainbow smelt are as follows:
- Lake Huron: 6 servings per year.
- Lake Michigan: 1 serving per month.
- Portage Lake in Houghton County: 1 serving per month.
- Gull Lake in Kalamazoo County: 2 servings per month.
- Higgins Lake in Roscommon County: 4 servings per month.
MDHHS currently recommends that no one eat more than 1 serving per month of rainbow smelt from Lake Superior due to elevated levels of PFOS.
For more information on where to find, prepare, eat or buy safe fish, visit Michigan.gov/EatSafeFish or call MDHHS Division of Environmental Health Hotline at 800-648-6942.