The Kentucky Departments for Environmental Protection, Public Health and Fish and Wildlife Resources jointly issue fish consumption advisories to the public when fish are found with trace contaminants of mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chlordane.
These advisories caution citizens about potential health problems that may result from eating fish caught statewide as well as from a particular waterbody. These advisories do not ban eating fish; it is a guide to help citizens reduce risk and make informed decisions about eating fish from Kentucky waters. This guidance provides information on how often fish may be safely eaten. Most fish are healthy to eat and are an excellent source of low-fat protein.
Consumption advisories do not affect those who swim, ski or boat in Kentucky waters.
In late 2021, testing began to evaluate the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in fish from state waters. Sampling is ongoing across the state to collect data to inform additional guidance relating to PFAS and fish consumption. In the meantime, to lower potential health risks associated with PFAS, the agencies recommend that citizens follow existing statewide fish consumption guidance for mercury and any site-specific advisories.
Recent information from the US EPA indicates that infants and young children may be particularly sensitive to some health effects associated with PFAS. In the interim while staff collect additional data and information, sensitive populations may want to exercise additional caution when making choices on the frequency and quantity of fish consumed from state waters.
For additional information on PFAS, visit DEP’s PFAS webpage.
Current Fish Consumption Advisories
Last advisory issued: January 2016
The guidance below applies to specific groups of fish from all Kentucky waters:
|Predatory fish||1 meal per month||6 meals per year||Mercury|
|Bottom feeder fish and Panfish||1 meal per week||1 meal per month||Mercury|
|All other fish||No Advisory||1 meal per week||Mercury|
Note: one meal is considered to be an 8 oz. serving for a 150 pound person.
Sensitive Populations: Women of childbearing age and children 6 years and younger are advised to eat no more than six meals per year of predatory fish and no more than one meal per month of panfish and bottom feeder fish. The general public is advised to eat no more than one meal per month of predatory fish and no more than one meal per week of panfish and bottom feeder fish.
Predatory fish include: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass, White Bass and Striped Bass and their hybrids, Yellow Bass, Flathead Catfish, Blue Catfish, Musky, Sauger and Walleye and their hybrids, Bowfin, Chain Pickerel and all Gars.
Panfish include: Bluegill, Green Sunfish, Longear Sunfish, Redear Sunfish, Rock Bass, and Crappie species.
Bottom feeder fish include: Channel Catfish, Drum, Carp Sucker, White Sucker, Common Carp, Bullhead species, Northern Hog Sucker, Buffalo species, Spotted Sucker, Redhorse species, Sturgeon and Creek Chub.
Other fish include: Asian Carp, Trout species, Minnows, etc.