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Middle Columbia Fish Advisory

Due to moderate levels of mercury and PCBs, we recommend limiting the amount of resident fish species consumed from the middle Columbia River (Ruckel Creek, 150 miles upstream to McNary Dam). Resident fish stay within a defined area on the river and do not migrate out to the ocean.

Fish Consumption Recommendations

Fish are nutritious, but resident fish from the middle Columbia River contain chemicals (mercury and PCBs) that may harm your health depending on how much you eat. Everyone should follow this advisory, especially women who are or might become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children. Babies and children are most at-risk.

Resident Fish

Limit resident fish consumption to no more than one meal per week: no other fish should be eaten that week. Resident fish include bass, bluegill, carp, catfish, crappie, sucker, sturgeon, walleye and yellow perch.

Migratory Fish*

Salmon, steelhead, and shad are NOT included in this fish advisory. They are a healthy choice from the Columbia River.

Lamprey*: Although lamprey are migratory, their diets result in more contamination than other migratory fish. Children under 6 years old or people who are or may become pregnants or breastfeeding should limit their consumption of lamprey to 2 eight-oz. meals per month. Everyone else should limit their consumption to 4 eight-oz. meals per month.

Health Effects

Mercury can harm the central nervous system (brain) and immune systems. If a baby or fetus is exposed to high levels of mercury the child may develop lifelong learning and behavioral problems. A fetus or child is more sensitive to mercury than an adult. If a person is exposed to mercury over time it can harm organs, including the kidneys and heart.

PCBs consumed at high levels can impact men and women of all ages. PCBs may cause a variety of health problems depending on the amount a person is exposed to. If a baby or fetus is exposed to high levels of PCBs while developing, the child may have lifelong learning and behavioral problems. PCBs may also affect the immune and reproductive systems and thyroid hormones. PCBs may cause cancer in people.


MidColumbia fish advisory table.PNG