Washington State Health Department Issues Fish consumption Advisory for Columbia River Species

Published Sep 30, 2013

On September 23rd, the Washington State Department of Health and the Oregon Health Authority issued fish consumption advisories for resident fish in certain parts of the Columbia River, specifically, near the Bonneville Dam and middle Columbia River due to elevated levels of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in fish tissue. Salmon, steelhead, and American shad are not affected by the advisories. Both departments stress that it is important to increase awareness but equally important to “keep fish on the table.”

The advisory press release states: “Health officials from both states continue to encourage people, including pregnant women, to eat a variety of fish as part of a healthy diet. Migratory fish such as salmon and steelhead are an essential source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, and are low in contaminants.”  Toxicologist David Farrer, Ph.d., of OHA’s Public Health Division, is quoted as saying “Our iconic salmon, steelhead and other migratory fish are fine. People still need to eat at least two meals of fish per week.”

  • To view the Columbia River fish consumption advisory press release, click here.
  • To go to the Washington State Department of Health website concerning fish consumption, click here.