Green Buckeye RN

Post-Gazette.Com: Mercury Fishing Rising
July 6, 2010, 10:59 am
Filed under: News, Spotlight on... Mercury

Sunday, July 04, 2010
By Deborah Weisberg
Anglers have another reason to bristle over the Lake Erie invasion of zebra mussels and round gobies.

The Eurasian natives have caused mercury concentrations in Erie walleyes to rise 50 percent since they invaded the lake 20 years ago, while levels in other Great Lakes walleyes have declined or remained stable. That’s according to a study by the Canadian Ministry of the Environment, which sampled more than 5,800 walleyes and lake trout between the mid-1970s and 2007.

“During the 1980s, Lake Erie walleyes had the lowest mercury levels, compared to the other Canadian Great Lakes,” said researcher Sityana Bhavsar, who led the 30-year study recently published in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science & Technology journal. “Although Erie levels are now similar to, or lower than, the other lakes, what’s disturbing is the increasing concentration trend.”

According to the study, the average Erie walleye sampled in the past decade contained about 0.18 parts per million of mercury, an increase of 0.03 ppm over the previous decade. That’s well within the limits of Pennsylvania’s general advisory to consume no more than one-half pound of fish per week when mercury concentration is between 0.13 and 0.25 ppm. However, because of PCBs, another industrial pollutant, Pennsylvania recommends limiting most Erie fish, including walleyes, to one meal per month.

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