What You Need to Know about Eating Freshwater Fish in North Carolina: Fish Consumption Advisories
Most freshwater fish in North Carolina are safe to eat, but some fish in some waters are unsafe due to high levels of pollutants in the waterbodies. Most of this pollution comes from industrial chemicals and processes; in North Carolina, burning coal for electricity production has led to an increase in mercury levels in fish. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), once used as an electrical coolant, and dioxins, old by-products from making paper, are also pollutants in some North Carolina waterbodies.
Why Only Women and Children?
Not everyone is at the same risk when eating fish from polluted bodies of water. Children, infants, pregnant women, nursing women, and women who may become pregnant are the most vulnerable.
This website contains:
- An interactive map to help you identify which fish are unsafe to eat due to pollutants in waterbodies near you
- Information on the pollutants of concern in North Carolina and their health effects
- Recommendations for serving size and eating of local fish
- Preparation and recipe ideas to reduce pollutants
- Suggested fish species to eat more of
- Fish species to avoid eating from waterbodies in North Carolina where pollutants have been found
- A searchable table of North Carolina waterbodies with information about pollutants and eating guidelines
- Printable advisory signs in English and Spanish for the western, central, and eastern regions of North Carolina that can be posted at fishing locations
To learn more about healthy consumption of saltwater fish species and seafood, check out these resources from North Carolina Sea Grant and the North Carolina Division of Public Health: