DEQ map shows where not to fish and swim in Louisiana

DEQ map shows where not to fish and swim in Louisiana

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Just how safe is your catch?

There seems to be a new food recall just about every week, but a recent report is now turning its focus on Louisiana waterways and the fish that may be on your dinner table.

In Louisiana, the average person eats about nine pounds of fish a year.

A map published by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality show the roughly 60 locations where fish contaminated by mercury and other chemicals have been caught; eight are in Southwest Louisiana.

Local fisherman, Erik Rue says the problem is way more complex than fish on a map.

“I think we’ve all seen these advisories in the past, but I don’t think that there’s this innate fear that people are concerned about jumping in this water right here and being contaminated," Rue said.

One of the advisories says in the Calcasieu and Cameron Parish estuary, PCB’s, dioxins and mercury have been found in crab fat. Another advisory in Lake Charles warns people to avoid swimming or contact with sediment at Bayou d’Inde, something Rue says could become a major issue in the future.

“I’m concerned probably the most with dredging efforts that are going on, especially with industrial expansion is that going to create new problems for us in the future, I think it needs to be looked at,” he said.

For the average family who likes to spend their time on the water but isn’t quite sure what this information means, Rue has one tip.

“Look at the DEQ website and look at the map and click on the icons to take a look at what the advisories and then judge for yourself,” Rue said.

For instance, the state says no one should eat any fish from Capitol Lake in Baton Rouge, while here in Calcasieu parish only crab fat is on the do-not-eat list.

For 83 miles along the Tensas River, the advisory states only, "Long-term fish consumption may cause health risk."

The Gulf advisory is complicated. Most people are advised against eating more than a total of four 8-ounce servings a month of fish caught in state waters, except for king mackerel.

People should eat no more than two meals a month of king mackerel—and only then if the fish is less than 39 inches long. Women of childbearing age and children below age seven should not eat any king mackerel and no more than one meal a month of cobia, blackfin tuna, and greater amberjack.

In advisory language, “one meal” means eight ounces.

The advisories also describe which chemical, heavy metal, or other substance causes the problem.

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