Fish Consumption Advisories

The Kentucky Departments for Environmental Protection, Health Services and Fish and Wildlife Resources jointly issue a fish consumption advisory to the public when fish are found contaminated. Trace contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury are found in some fish in Kentucky. An advisory cautions people about potential health problems that may result from eating fish caught from a particular area. An advisory does not ban eating fish; it is a guide to reduce your risk. This guide provides information on how often fish may be safely eaten. Most fish are healthy to eat and are an excellent source of low-fat protein. To answer basic questions about fish consumption advisories, Kentucky Division of Water has prepared an FAQ that can be found here: Frequently Asked Questions about Fish Consumption Advisories

A new method for reporting the fish consumption advisories has been adopted. Consumption rates for specific fish have been developed based on a meal of 1/2 pound of fish (before cooking) eaten by a 150-pound individual. Following these guidelines and spacing your meals of those fish species will limit your health risks by reducing your total exposure.

A sensitive population category exists for women of childbearing age, children 6 years of age or younger, pregnant and nursing women and women who plan to become pregnant. Those individuals who consume fish from the Ohio River should follow the sensitive population consumption advisories.

Risks from eating contaminated fish can be reduced by the following:

  • ...fillet the fish, remove the skin and trim all fat
  • ...do not eat fish eggs
  • ...broil, grill or bake the fillets instead of frying or microwaving
  • ...do not eat or reuse juices or fats that cook out of the fish.

Fish consumption advisories are in effect for the following:

  1. Statewide: All Kentucky waters are under an advisory for mercury. Women of childbearing age and children 6 years of age or younger should eat no more than six meals per year of predatory fish, no more than one meal per month of panfish and bottom feeding fish and no more than 1 meal per week of fish in the "other fish" category. The general population should eat no more than one meal per month of predatory fish and no more than one meal per week of panfish and bottom feeding fish.  There is no advisory for the general population for fish in the "other fish" category.

    Predatory fish include black bass (smallmouth, largemouth and spotted), white bass, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, sauger, saugeye, walleye, muskellunge, flathead and blue catfish, yellow bass, bowfin, chain pickerel and all gars.

    Panfish include bluegill, crappie, rock bass as well as green, longear and redear sunfish.

    Bottom feeder fish include the bullheads, buffalo species, channel catfish, common carp, redhorse species, shovelnose sturgeon, drum, creek chub as well as the white suckers, spotted suckers, northern hogsuckers and carpsuckers.

    Other fish include asian carp, trout species, minnows, etc. 

    This is not an emergency, as organic mercury can occur naturally in the environment and does not affect swimmers, skiers or boaters. Fish can accumulate these low levels of mercury by eating plankton and other small aquatic creatures.

  2. Drakes Creek: Fish should not be consumed from dam on W. Fork at Franklin, Ky. downstream to confluence with Barren River. This includes all species and sizes. (PCB)

  3. Fish Lake: Ballard Wildlife Management Area, Fish Lake, is an approximately 30-acre natural lake in Ballard County. This advisory is considered to be lake-wide from the headwaters of the lake to the outflow of Shawnee Creek.

    Advisory for Fish Lake:

    Fish Group General Population Sensitive Population Contaminant(s)
    Bottom Feeders 1 meal/month 6 meals/year Mercury
  4. Fishtrap Lake: Fishtrap Lake is approximately 1100 acres and impounds the Levisa Fork River in Pike County, KY.

    Advisory boundaries:

    This advisory will include the Levisa Fork River from the KY/VA Stateline to the dam on Fishtrap Lake. A similar fish consumption advisory has been issued by VA for a portion of the Levisa fork river in their state.

    Advisory for Fishtrap Lake:

    Fish Group General Population Sensitive Population Contaminant(s)
    Bottom Feeders and White Bass 1 meal/month 6 meals/year PCB
    Predatory Fish 1 meal/week 1 meal/month PCB
  5. Green River Lake: Green River Lake is approximately 8,210 acres and impounds Robinson Creek and the Green River in Taylor and Adair counties.

    Fish Group General Population Sensitive Population Contaminant(s)
    Bottom Feeders 1 meal/month 6 meals/year PCB, Mercury
  6. Knox Creek: There are approximately 7.8 miles of Knox Creek in Pike County, KY. The headwaters of Knox Creek are located predominantly in Buchanan Co, VA. A similar fish consumption advisory has been issued in VA for their section of this creek.

    Advisory boundaries:

    This fish consumption advisory will include all of Knox Creek from the VA/KY state line to the Tug Fork River.

    Advisory for Knox Creek:

    Fish Group General Population Sensitive Population Contaminant(s)
    Flathead Catfish No Consumption No Consumption PCB, Mercury
    Bottom Feeders 6 meals/year No Consumption PCB
    Predatory Fish 1 meal/month 6 meals/year PCB
    Panfish 1 meal/month 6 meals/year PCB, Mercury
  7. Little Bayou Creek:  Fish should not be consumed from the section of the creek located in McCracken County. This includes all species and sizes. (PCB)

  8. Metropolis Lake (McCracken County): Fish should not be consumed from Metropolis Lake. This includes all species and sizes. (PCB and Mercury)

  9. Mud River-From Hancock Lake Dam to Wolf Lick Creek: 

    Fish Group General Population Sensitive Population Contaminant(s)
    Bottom Feeders No Consumption No Consumption PCB
    Predatory Fish and Panfish 1 meal/month 6 meals/year PCB

     

    Mud River-From Wolf Lick Creek to the Green River:

    Fish Group General Population Sensitive Population Contaminant(s)
    Bottom Feeders 1 meal/month 6 meals/year PCB
    Predatory Fish and Panfish 1 meal/week 1 meal/month PCB

     

  10. Town Branch (Logan County): Fish should not be consumed from any portion of Town Branch. This includes all species and sizes. (PCB)

  11. Western Kentucky WMA Ponds: Fish should not be consumed from Western Kentucky WMA Ponds in McCracken Co. This includes all species and sizes. (Mercury)

  12. Ohio River, bordering Kentucky:

    Any fish species not listed in the table below falls under the One Meal/Week advisory for Mercury

    Upper and Middle Reach (Mouth of the Big Sandy River to J. T. Meyers L&D):

    Species General Population Sensitive Population Contaminant(s)
    Common Carp 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB
    Channel Catfish under 18" 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB
    Channel Catfish over 18" 6 meals/year 6 meals/year PCB
    Flathead Catfish 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB
    Striped Bass 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB
    Hybrid Striped Bass 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB
    White Bass 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB
    All Suckers 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB
    Freshwater Drum 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB
    Black Bass (largemouth, Smallmouth and spotted) 1 meal/month 1 meal/month Mercury

    Lower Reach (Cannelton L&D to Mouth of Ohio River):

    Species General Population Sensitive Population Contaminant(s)
    Common Carp over 22" 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB
    Blue Catfish over 20" 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB
    Channel Catfish over 18" 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB
    Flathead Catfish 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB, Mercury
    Striped Bass 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB, Mercury
    Hybrid Striped Bass 1 meal/month 1 meal/month PCB, Mercury
    White bass 1 meal/month 1 meal/month Mercury
    Freshwater Drum over 14" 1 meal/month 1 meal/month Mercury
    Black Bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted) 1 meal/month 1 meal/month Mercury