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Contaminants in Fish

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Water Resources issues advisories for consumption of fish from certain Tennessee waters. These fish contain potentially hazardous contaminants.

Summary

High risk groups such as children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should avoid consumption of contaminated fish. Because adverse health effects for normal risk groups are considered to be a result of routine and long-term exposure, an infrequent meal of listed fish is not believed to have a measurable health risk.

Health risks can be substantially reduced by taking a few precautions. Big fish tend to have higher concentrations of toxic materials than smaller ones since they are older and have had more time to accumulate them. Many toxic materials are stored in fatty tissues, so when cleaning fish remove and discard the belly flap and fatty strip along the backbone and lateral line. Filleting the fish and removing the skin is also advisable. Broiling, baking, or grilling provides additional risk reduction. These risk reduction suggestions do not reduce health risks related to mercury.

For specific information regarding aquatic contaminants or affected waters, contact your regional TWRA office or the Water Resources Division (Environment and Conservation) office at (615) 532-0625

Current Fish Advisories

 

Current Fish Tissue Advisories (August 2010)
WATERBODY COUNTY PORTION POLLUTANT COMMENTS
Beech Reservoir Henderson Entirety (877 acres) Mercury Precautionary Advisory for largemouth bass*
Cypress Creek Shelby Entirety (7.7 miles) Chlordane & other Pesticides, PCB's DO not eat the fish
Loosahatchie River Shelby Mile 0.0-17.0 (Hwy. 14, Austen Peay Highway) Chlordane, Other Organics, Mercury Do not eat the fish.
McKellar Lake Shelby Entirety (13 miles) Chlordane, Other Organics, Mercury Do not eat the fish
Mississippi River Shelby MS stateline to just downstream of Meeman-Shelby State Park (31 mi) Chlordane, Other Organics, Mercury Do not eat the fish. Commerical fishing prohibited by TWRA.
North Fork, Forked Deer River Dyer
Gibson
From the mouth of the Middle Ford Forked Deer River (mile 17.6) upstream to State Highway 188 (mile 23.6) Mercury Precautionary advisory for largemouth bass*
Nonconnah Creek Shelby From the Mouth to Kansas St. (Mile 0.0-1.8) Chlordane, Other Organics Do not eat the fish.
Advisory ends at Horn Lake Road bridge.
Wolf River Shelby From Mouth to Germantown Road (Mile 0.0-18.9) Chlordane, Other Organics, Mercury Do not eat the fish.
Woods Reservoir Franklin Entirety (3,908 acres) PCB's Catfish should not be eaten
Buffalo River Humphreys, Perry From the mouth upstream to Hwy. 438 (Mile 31.6) Mercury Precautionary advisory for smallmouth bass*
Beech Creek Wayne From the mouth to origin (Mile 16.7) including TN River Embayment Mercury Do not eat the fish. Avoid contact with sediment between Leatherwood Branch & Smith Branch
Duck River Humphreys, Hickman From mouth of Buffalo River (mile 15.8) upstream to I-40 (mile 31.8) Mercury Precautionary advisory for largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass*
Boone Reservoir

Sullivan, Washington

Entirety (4,400 acres) PCB's, Chlordane Precautionary advisory for carp and catfish*
Chattanooga Creek Hamilton Mouth to GA state line (11.9 miles) PCBs, chlordane Fish should not be eaten.
Also, avoid contact with water.
East Fork of Poplar Creek including Poplar Creek embayment Anderson, Roane Mouth to New Hope Pond (Mile 0.0-15.0) Mercury, PCB's Fish should not be eaten. Also avoid contact with water
Emory River Roane, Morgan From Hwy. 27 near Harriman (mile 12.4) upstream to Camp Austin Road Bridge (Mile 21.8) Mercury Precautionary advisory for all fish *
Fort Loudoun Reservoir Loudon, Blount Entirety (14,600 acres) PCB's (Mercury - upper portion only) Commercial Fishing for catfish prohibited by TWRA. No catfish or largemouth bass over two pounds should be eaten. Do not eat largemouth bass from the Little River embayment. Due to mercury, precautionary advisory for any sized largemouth bass from Hwy. 129 to the confluence of Hloston and French Broad Rivers (534 acres).*
French Broad River Cocke From Rankin Bridge (mile 71.4) to Hwy 321 near Newport (mile 77.5) Mercury Precautionary advisory for largemouth bass*
Hiwassee River Meigs, McMinn, Bradley From Highway 58 (mile 7.4) upstream to the railroad bridge just upstream of U.S. Hwy 11 (Mile 18.9) Mercury Precautionary advisory for largemouth bass*
Holston River Hawkins, Sullivan From the mouth of Poor Valley Creek embayment (mile 89.0) upstream to the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Holston near Kingsport Mercury Precautionary advisory for all fish*
Melton Hill Reservoir Knox, Anderson Entirety (5,690 acres) PCBs Catfish should not be eaten.
Nickajack Reservoir Hamilton, Marion Entirety (10,370 acres) PCB's Precautionary advisory for catfish.*
Norris Reservoir Campbell, Anderson, Union, Claiborne, Grainger

Clinch River portion. (Powell River embayment not included in advisory.) (15,213 acres

Mercury Precautionary advisory for largemouth bass, striped bass, smallmouth bass and sauger. *
North Fork Holston River Sullivan, Hawkins Mile 0.0-6.2 (VA stateline) Mercury Do not eat the fish. Advisory goes to TN/VA line.
Sequatchie River Marion From Tennnessee River (mile 0.0) to State Hwy. 283 near Whitwell (mile 22.1) Mercury Precautionary advisory for largemouth bass*
South Holston Reservoir Sullivan Portion within Tennessee (7,206 acres) Mercury Precautionary advisory for largemouth bass.*
Tellico Reservoir Loudon, Monroe Entirety (16,500 acres) PCB's, Mercury Catfish should not be eaten
Watauga Reservoir Carter, Johnson Entirety (6,427 acres) Mercury Precautionary advisory for largemouth bass and channel catfish*
Watts Bar Reservoir Roane, Meigs,
Rhea & Loudon
TN River portion (38,000 acres) PCBs Catfish, striped bass, and hybrid (striped bass-white bass) should not be eaten. Precautionary advisory* for white bass, sauger, carp, smallmouth buffalo, and largemouth bass.
Watts Bar Reservior Roane, Anderson Clinch River arm (1,000 acres) PCBs Striped bass should not be eaten. Precautionary advisory for catfish and sauger.*
* Precautionary Advisory - Children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should not eat the fish species named.   All other persons should limit consumption of the named species to one meal per month.