State plans largemouth bass warning.


Mar 11, 2001
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State plans largemouth bass warning.
Official: Mercury advisory for at-risk people not intended to stop fishing.

By Mike Penprase, Springfield News-Leader

The Missouri Department of Health will release an advisory next week warning pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under 12 not to eat the meat of largemouth bass from Missouri waters.

The fish carry elevated levels of mercury, the advisory says. Mercury can affect the brains of fetuses or children.

The advisory to be issued Monday isn’t intended to keep people from fishing, said Gale Carlson, the head of the department’s environmental section. “We don’t think that’s a good idea at all,” Carlson said Friday.

The department used risk analysis and information from the Department of Conservation to determine that largemouth bass longer than 12 inches shouldn’t be eaten by at-risk people because the mercury level likely will be at least three-tenths parts per million, Carlson said. Woman planning to become pregnant also are included in the at-risk group.

The Environmental Protection Agency has adopted an allowable level of two-tenths parts per million for mercury, but it was felt that Missourians don’t eat enough fish to use that standard, Carlson said.

The advisory will be statewide, he said, because mercury likely is being released in power-plant emissions, in addition to that which occurs naturally.

The advisory is similar to one the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued earlier this year for shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.

Chris Vitello, biology head of the Missouri Department of Conservation regional fisheries, said he doesn’t know what concern the advisory will create on Ozarks reservoirs such as Table Rock Lake.

“You just never know about these kinds of things,” he said. “I’m going to be prepared to answer several questions.”

The popularity of catching and releasing large bass means few are eaten, Vitello said.

Surveys of the James River Arm of Table Rock lake, for example, show that 90 percent of legal-length largemouth bass are released, he said.

“In this case, it may not have much of an impact,” he said.

The statewide length limit to keep largemouth bass is 12 inches, but the limit on most reservoirs is larger. The limit on Table Rock is 15 inches, VItello said.

While mercury poisoning from food is rare, even small amounts can harm a fetus, said Harold Bengsch, director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

“Mercury is a neurotoxin, so it’s easy to understand that (advisory),” he said. “Since that developing fetus is susceptible to toxic substances, mercury would be of concern.”


Well-known member
Mar 13, 2001
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Can I use mercury from fish as an excuse for the condition of my Brain?????

I'm kind of forgetfull and do some pretty stupid things a lot   :(


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