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State fish advisory set for fish found in Lake Isabella

“Fish can be an important part of a healthy diet."
Lake Isabella, September 3, 2021
Posted at 4:08 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 19:19:14-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — If you fish at Lake Isabella, there is something to keep in mind when it comes to your health.

The office of environmental health hazard assessment issued a state fish advisory that provides safe eating advice for three different types of fish found in Lake Isabella.

As the spring and summer months have approached us, many people will be fishing out at Lake Isabella, but it's important to understand which fish are safe to consume and how much you should be eating.

“Fish can be an important part of a healthy diet. However, fish can also build up contaminants such as mercury that can pose health risks if consumed in excessive amounts,” said Amy Gilson, Deputy Director for External and Legislative Affairs at California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

It’s something that’s toxic, that can be found in fish. Gilson said that mercury can damage the brain and nervous system.

“Mercury is released into the environment from mining and burning coal. Even when those sources of pollution are gone, the mercury can stay stable in the environment for a long time. From there, mercury passes into tiny plants and animals that live in the water and then into the fish that eat them.”

As mercury enters our environment, Gilson said that kids ages 1 to 17 and women ages 18 to 49 are especially sensitive to this chemical element.

“Our guidance is that they can safely eat a maximum of three total servings per week of threadfin shad, one serving per week of black bass species, or common carp. The reason why we include women ages 18 to 49 in that category is that women can pass mercury on to their babies during pregnancy and breastfeeding.”

For women over 50 and men 18 or older Gilson said they advise eating a maximum of seven total servings per week of threadfin shad or two total servings per week of black bass species or common carp.

Gilson adds that by following the advisory people can safely eat fish low in chemical contaminants and still enjoy the benefits of fish consumption.

“At the levels of mercury in Lake Isabella, if you eat something slightly greater than the advisory's recommendation it's not likely to cause major health problems, if done occasionally. Such as eating fish caught during an annual vacation.”

For the fish species found in Lake Isabella that are not included in this advisory you can find more information about the safety of eating those specific species on their website.