State agencies list mercury risks in state fisheries

Dec 21, 2012


The Wyoming Department of Health and the Game and Fish Department have released mercury advisories for various bodies of water in the state, and for the fish that live there.

Mercury contaminates many waterways nationwide – because it sometimes it occurs naturally there, is leaked by a local source, or comes from air pollution from power plants. Since 2010, the EPA has been sampling tissue from fish across the state.

Wyoming Game and Fish and the Health Department have published advisories for many waterways and listed which fish are healthy to eat, and how often it’s safe to eat them.

The Health Department’s Wendy Braund says pregnant women and children should be careful about how much mercury they consume.

“Mercury is a neurotoxin, so that means it’s damaging to the nervous system. And there are indications that developing fetuses and young children are more sensitive than full-grown adults.”

Braund says larger fish that are higher on the food chain tend to have the most mercury.

“Mercury accumulates in human tissue just the way it accumulates in fish tissue. And so then, fish consume smaller fish and over time, then, the very large fish can get the higher mercury content.”

Braund says people should not stop eating fish altogether, because fish can be very nutritious in moderation.

A full list of state fish consumption advisories is available on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website: