State and local officials have issued a fish consumption advisory for the Green River in Desolation Canyon where elevated mercury levels have been found in channel catfish.
Officials from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources collected the fish as part of an ongoing investigation of mercury in fish tissues. Elevated mercury levels were found in eight out of 10 channel catfish collected from the Green River in Desolation Canyon.
Fish consumption advisory signs will be posted at access points to the Desolation Canyon portion of the Green River stating that:
Adults should limit their consumption of channel catfish taken from the Green River in Desolation Canyon to no more than two 8-ounce servings per month; and
Women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children should not eat more than one four-ounce serving per month from channel catfish in the Green River. A 4-ounce serving of fish is approximately the size of a deck of cards.
Eating more than these amounts over a long period of time could result in an intake of mercury that exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency health recommendations, according to an analysis completed by the Utah Department of Health. Any health risks associated with eating fish from the Green River in Desolation Canyon are based on long-term consumption and are not tied to eating fish occasionally. There is no health risk to other recreationists, including those swimming, boating and waterskiing.
Officials from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Utah Department of Health, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Southeastern Utah District Health Department and Tri-County Health Department worked in partnership to issue this advisory.
Information about the advisory will also be distributed locally, and will be available at: http://www.deq.utah.gov/issues/Mercury/fish_advisories.htm and each of the agencies' Internet sites. More information about the health effects of mercury can be found at: http://www.atsdr.ede.gov/tfacts46.htm: A map of Utah highlighting the site where the fish were tested for mercury and the test results can be found at http://www.waterquality.utah.gov/documents/mercury_sample_sites_8-10-05pdf. A copy of the Health Consultation on the Evaluation of Mercury Concentrations in Fish from Desolation Canyon, Green River, Utah for 2000 and 2005 can be found at www.health.utah.gov/enviroepi.
Additional sampling of the Green river above and below Desolation Canyon will be conducted in 2006 to evaluate if this fish advisory should be expanded.