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Health Department issues fish-consumption advisory for Lake Ouachita

By Lisa Burnett

This article was published August 11, 2014 at 3:30 p.m.

the-arkansas-department-of-health-on-monday-issued-a-fish-consumption-advisory-for-lake-ouachita-pictured-in-this-file-photo-taken-from-the-little-fir-recreation-area

The Arkansas Department of Health on Monday issued a fish-consumption advisory for Lake Ouachita, pictured in this file photo taken from the Little Fir Recreation Area.

The Arkansas Department of Health on Monday issued a fish-consumption advisory for Lake Ouachita after unsafe levels of mercury were detected in a sampling of fish.

Fish that were collected from the lake by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and tested by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality were found to contain levels of mercury that could be harmful to some people's health, officials said in a news release.

“Eating fish with mercury will not make people sick right away, but as you eat more and more, it can build up in the body and, over time, potentially cause adverse health effects,” the release states.

The advisory only applies to people eating fish from Lake Ouachita, and doesn’t affect swimmers, skiers, boaters, catch-and-release activities and other recreational uses of the lake.

It also doesn’t limit the use of Lake Ouachita as a source of drinking water.

Children under the age of 7, and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or of childbearing age are at the highest risk and should not eat largemouth bass 13 inches or longer, white bass 13 inches or longer or striped bass 25 inches or longer from Lake Ouachita, officials said.

The general public should eat no more than two meals per month of largemouth bass, white bass or striped bass from Lake Ouachita.

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 total comments

HOTDEMN says... August 11, 2014 at 5:42 p.m.

So...........how did mercury get in one of the most protected lakes in America ? This "news" paper is almost worthless in the depth of it's coverage on any given issue .

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Packman says... August 11, 2014 at 5:59 p.m.

Hey Hotdemn - You make a very good point. Mercury occurs in nature and could be the source. The closest coal-fired generator is a hundred miles or more away so no need for environmentalists to get their panties in a wad. And does it apply to all species of fish?

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... August 11, 2014 at 6:05 p.m.

Just the ones that were tested. Don't know about cat fish.

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TheBatt says... August 11, 2014 at 7:15 p.m.

Sheer Genius... This is copy/pasted from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission regulations regarding Lake Ouachita and Largemouth bass:

"Largemouth bass and spotted bass must be 13 inches or longer to keep."

Ummm.. the article states:

"Children under the age of 7, and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or of childbearing age are at the highest risk and should not eat largemouth bass 13 inches or longer"

So basically, only illegal fish should be consumed? Seriously? ugh...

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TheBatt says... August 11, 2014 at 7:17 p.m.

AS far as "coal-fired power plant" - the regulations now on emissions from those facilities are such that mercury is not a threat.

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95Dakota says... August 11, 2014 at 8 p.m.

You want somebody or something to blame, hotdemn? Fine, me too. Mercury contamination is, unfortunately, a complex thing to track down. Meantime, you would have the media sit on the alert. Thanks a lot.

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HM2 says... August 11, 2014 at 9:04 p.m.

In truth, if you eat thirty pounds of fish from the lake every day for the rest of your life your mercury level may be slightly elevated when you die.

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Jfish says... August 11, 2014 at 10 p.m.

Hotdemn, the newspaper can only publish the info. that they are given, would you prefer they make up some facts?

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RonalFos says... August 12, 2014 at 7:31 a.m.

In truth, mercury is everywhere. Some comes from natural sources but much of it is in the environment because of centuries of coal burning. So a warning about a particularly high source of the heavy metal should be followed. It is the accumulation from all the sources that can harm. We are THE apex predator.

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