On July 31, important news came from several state agencies that should be of great importance to Minnesota anglers.
The Minnesota Department of Health, with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recommended that children and specified adults should avoid eating fish caught in two water bodies due to new data showing a mixture of pollutants including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the fish.
PFAS are a family of human-made chemicals that have been widely used for decades and do not break down in the environment. Over time, PFAS can build up in a person’s body. Children’s immune systems are the most sensitive. Exposure to some PFAS is associated with certain types of cancer.
Those who should avoid eating fish from the two water bodies include children under age 15, people who are or could become pregnant, and those who are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
The updated guidance involves two water bodies in the Twin Cities metro area:
- The Mississippi River from the Ford Dam in St. Paul to Hastings Dam (known as Pool 2)
- Lake Rebecca near Hastings.
The Minnesota Department of Health notes that prior guidance for these water bodies recommended not eating certain types of fish due to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury (see Waterbody Specific Safe-Eating Guidelines on the Fish Consumption Guidance page). Mercury and PCBs have been detected in fish in Minnesota for decades, but the new data on the presence of many types of PFAS prompted state officials to update the guidance.
“The updated fish consumption guidance for Lake Rebecca and Pool 2 applies only to higher-risk populations at this time,” MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff said. “It’s important to note that with PFAS, the risk is based on long-term exposure, not the kind of short-term exposure you might have from a few meals.”
The MDH says people not planning to be pregnant and boys/men aged 15 and over should follow the “Waterbody Specific Safe-Eating Guidelines” to help determine which species and the quantity that should be eaten from these areas:
- Lake Rebecca (crappie, largemouth bass, and sunfish: 1 serving per month)
- Mississippi River, Ford Dam to Hastings Dam, Pool 2 (crappie, flathead catfish, freshwater drum, sunfish, and white bass: 1 serving per month. Carp: Do not eat.)
DNR Regional Fisheries Manager Brian Nerbonne says that fishing at Lake Rebecca and Pool 2 can still be enjoyed by all on a catch-and-release basis. Anglers looking to fish elsewhere in the metro are encouraged to try the Lower St. Croix River (south of Stillwater), Lake Nokomis, Rogers Lake, Bald Eagle Lake, and White Bear Lake.
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