Mercury and Fish Advisories Issued for 9 WaterwaysBaton Rouge – The Louisiana Departments of Health and Hospitals, Environmental Quality and Wildlife and Fisheries today issued a series of fish consumption advisories for seven bodies of water. In addition, the agencies have revised two existing advisories, expanding the geographical boundaries of the advisory area  to include additional waters.

Advisories are issued due to unacceptable levels of mercury that have been detected in freshwater fish species. Fish advisories are issued as precautions. On a regular basis, fish sampling is carried out by the Department of Environmental Quality. The Department of Health uses these data to determine the need for additional advisories or to modify existing advisories. Each advisory lists the specific fish, makes consumption recommendations and outlines the geographic boundaries of the affected waterways.

• The advisories issued today are for the Amite River Drainage Basin (southeast region), Bayou Bonne Idee (Morehouse), Bayou Dorcheat (Webster), Bayou Queue de Tortue (Acadiana region), Cheniere Lake (Ouachita), Tew Lake (Catahoula) and the I-10 Canal and Work Canal (Iberville).

• The existing fish consumption advisory for the West Fork Calcasieu River (Southwest region) has been expanded to include additional areas within the Calcasieu drainage basin; and the northern boundary for the Bayou de Loutre (Union) advisory has been extended to the Louisiana/Arkansas border.

The full text for each advisory can be found at by calling toll-free:  1-888-293-7020.

Due to mercury contamination, there are now fish consumption advisories for 36 waterways in Louisiana and one for the Gulf of Mexico. For all areas under advisory, DHH’s Office of Public Health recommends limiting consumption of all fish species caught in an advisory area (unless the species has been specifically addressed in the advisory) to four meals per month.

Louisiana fish consumption advisories are based on the estimate that the average resident eats four fish meals per month (1 meal = ½ pound). Consuming more than four meals of fish a month 
from local water bodies, may increase health risks. Citizens are asked to contact the Office of Public Health (1-888-293-7020) for more information about eating fish that contain mercury or other chemicals.

Mercury is an element that occurs naturally in the environment. It is released into the environment through natural processes and human activities. Consequently, there are small amounts of mercury in the sediments of streams, lakes, rivers and oceans. Nearly all fish contain trace amounts of mercury. They absorb mercury as they feed on aquatic organisms. Larger predator fish contain more methyl-mercury than smaller fish. Therefore, in general, it is recommended that smaller fish be consumed instead of larger ones.

Dr. Jimmy Guidry, State Health Officer, said people are exposed throughout their lives to low levels of mercury.

“One way in which we are exposed to mercury is from eating contaminated fish. Health effects from harmful levels of mercury can include nervous system and kidney damage,” Guidry said. “Women of childbearing age, pregnant women (especially in the first trimester), children less than seven years of age and developing fetuses are more sensitive to the toxic effects of mercury. Therefore, consumption advisories are issued at lower fish tissue concentration levels for these groups.”

Previously Issued Fish Advisories:

Bayou Bartholomew  Bayou de Loutre    Bayou des Cannes
Bayou DeSiard   Bayou Liberty    Bayou Louis
Bayou Plaquemine Brule  Big Alabama Bayou    Black Bayou Lake
Black Lake  Blind River    Boeuf River
Bogue Chitto River  Bogue Falaya/Tchefuncte River Chicot Lake
Corney Lake  Grand Bayou Reservoir   Gulf of Mexico
 Henderson Lake Area Ivan Lake     Kepler Creek Lake
Lake Vernon Little River/Catahoula Lake Area  Ouachita River
Pearl River 7th Ward Canal     Tangipahoa River
Tickfaw River Area  Toledo Bend Reservoir   West Fork, Calcasieu River



Frederick P. Cerise, MD, MPH

Mike D. McDaniel, Ph.D.

Dwight Landreneau




P. O. Box 629

P. O. Box 4301

P. O. Box 98000

Baton Rouge, LA 70821-0629

Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4301

Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000