SALEM, Ore. -- Health officials in Oregon and Washington say people should protect themselves against mercury and PCB contamination by limiting consumption of certain fish species from a 150-mile section of the Columbia River.
Health experts have warned that over time, these toxins can cause damage to a person’s organs, nervous system and reproductive system.
The advisory issued Monday applies to fish that live year-round between Bonneville and McNary dams, including bass, bluegill, yellow perch, crappie, walleye, carp, catfish, suckers and sturgeon. It does not apply to migratory fish such as salmon and steelhead.
The Oregon Health Authority and the Washington Department of Health recommend eating no more than one meal per week of resident fish species from the affected zone. Consider a meal portion about the size of your hand.
They recommend not eating any fish taken between Bonneville Dam and Ruckel Creek one mile upstream. Officials say they're unsure how long the advisory will last.
“I've heard a little bit about it in different streams and rivers and stuff, mercury especially is a big concern. But I didn't realize this was going on here, on the Columbia River,” said fisherman Lance Rose.