Many Virginians love to fish and eat what they catch. Most wild fish are safe to eat. However, the Virginia Department of Health warns Virginians to be cautious before adding some fish and crabs to their menus.
The fish consumption advisory warns about potentially dangerous contaminants found in certain fish throughout many waters in Virginia. Some wild fish and crabs are contaminated with mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs are industrial chemicals that were banned in 1979 for causing harm to humans and the environment. Those chemicals can still be found in water, air, and soil throughout the world, according to the National Ocean Service.
The advisory gives valuable information about how often potentially contaminated fish can be eaten, or if they can be eaten at all. Many fish on the 2023 consumption advisory list should only be eaten a maximum of two times a month or less. However, some fish species from specific areas should be eaten even less, or not at all.
While the fish on the advisory can be safe to consume when following proper health guidelines, pregnant women, nursing women, and young children should avoid any fish with possible PCB or mercury contamination.
There are too many dangerous fish to list in this short article. For a complete list of fish and more information, visit the Department of Health online. Then you can decide which fish are safe to eat after you catch them.
Be careful. Remember the saying:
"It is better to be safe than sorry."