Fishing is fun and fish are an important part of a healthy diet. Fish contain high quality protein, essential nutrients, healthy fish oils, and are low in saturated fat. However, some fish contain chemicals at levels that may be harmful to health.
To help people make healthier choices about which fish to eat, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) issues advice about eating sportfish (fish you catch). People can get the health benefits of fish and reduce their exposures to chemicals, or contaminants, by following the NYS DOH advice. The advisories tell people which fish to avoid and how to reduce their exposures to contaminants in the fish they do eat.
Fish from fresh waters are more likely to be contaminated than fish from remote marine waters because many fresh waters are close to human activities and contamination sources. Anglers (and others who eat fish caught by friends and family) often eat fish from a limited set of waters because they tend to return to favorite fishing locations. When those fishing locations contain fish with higher contaminant levels, the people who eat them will have higher contaminant exposures.
NYS DOH also issues advice about game, such as snapping turtles and wild waterfowl. Game may also contain chemicals at levels of concern.
Last updated January 19, 2016