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.