CHEYENNE - The Wyoming Department of Health and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department advise residents to consider mercury levels in the fish they eat, including those caught in state waters, for health reasons.
Wyoming Game and Fish Department assistant fisheries management coordinator Mark Smith said the two departments plan to continue to update the fish consumption advisory for Wyoming-caught fish as new data is obtained and analyzed. “The consumption advisory for Wyoming-caught fish is provided to help anglers make the best consumption choices for them and their families,” Smith said.
Smith said it is important to remember that while some larger fish in some waters may contain mercury at levels that warrant reduced consumption for some people, fish—which contain high quality protein and other essential nutrients--are an important part of a healthy diet.
Mercury contamination usually increases as fish get larger and older. “As a general rule, it is better to keep smaller fish for eating,” Smith said. “In most cases mercury levels in species such as Wyoming-caught trout are relatively low while species that prey primarily on other fish, such as walleye, sauger, burbot and bass tend to have higher levels.”
Smith noted mercury advisories are nothing new as federal and state agencies have issued them for many years.
New data on fish from Lake Desmet, Boysen, Buffalo Bill, Keyhole, and Pallisades Reservoirs was recently analyzed and resulted in a few additions and adjustments to the consumption advisories for fish in those waters.
The majority of additions to the advisory this year are for larger lake trout and walleye at Buffalo Bill Reservoir, where data was previously not available.
Anglers planning to harvest fish on these or other waters may want to consult the updated advisories by going to the Game and Fish website: wgfd.wyo.gov
(Contact: Dr. Tracy Murphy, 307-777-7716 or Mark Smith, 307-777-4560)