BY MOLLIE S. WATERS
The Greenville Standard
Summer is peak fishing season, but anglers in Region 4, which includes part of Butler County as well as surrounding areas, need to be aware of several new advisories recently issued about high levels of mercury and other minerals in the fish found in local waterways.
The advisories were issued in July, but they continue to be in effect now.
According to a document titled “Alabama Fish Consumption Advisories,” which was released on July 17, on the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) website, the ADPH issues the advisories each summer.
According to the document, the annual list of advisors includes the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
According to the document, the ADPH issues the advisories based on fish that have been tested from Alabama’s lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries, and offshore waters.
“All fish are measured for length, weighed, and examined for overall condition,” states the document. “Fish are filleted/processed to remove the entire edible portion of tissue. Samples are then transferred to the laboratory for analysis.
“ADPH receives the fish tissue data from ADEM, and examines the data and issues fish consumption advisories where contaminated fish have been found.”
According to the ADPH website, the nearby areas impacted in Region 4 include Clarke, Monroe, and Wilcox Counties.
One area with an advisory is located approximately two miles downstream of Alabama Highway 12/US Highway 84, which is river miles 65-66 in Monroe County.
The recommendation there is to eat no more than two largemouth bass and/or two spotted bass meals (or six ounces) per month due to mercury contamination.
Also included in the advisory is the area at the Claiborne lower reservoir in Monroe County in the vicinity of Lower Peachtree access area, which is approximately river mile 96. That river mile is close to the intersection of Clarke, Monroe, and Wilcox Counties.
The recommendation there is also not to consume more than two largemouth bass meals per month due to mercury levels.
Although eating fish is generally considered healthy, the ADPH wants to make sure Alabama residents are aware of any potential hazards due to fish consumption.
Next week, Region 5 advisories will be explored.