It's not just PA. There's a project underway down here looking at
methylmercury contamination in largemouth bass. Over 50% of the sites that
have been examined (about 75 localities) have bass that are over 1ppm, the
"legal limit" in Alabama. Alabama has the higest allowable limit of any
state in the US, in fact, even the WHO recommends only 0.5ppm. Especially
hard hit are areas on the Coastal Plain, where bacteria can add methyl
groups, converting mercury into the dangerous form.
More interesting is that the concentration doesn't necessarily seem to be
correlated to the size of the fish, like you would expect if it were a case
of simple bioaccumulation. At individual localities, some small fish had
much higer levels than large fish. My only guess is a feeding bias, with
fish specializing on crayfish having lower levels, while shad-feeding bass
have higher concentrations (more food chain "links"). The group here hasn't
gotten around to looking at that.
Downright scary. Of course, ADEM (Alabama Dept of Environmental Management)
is taking the position that it's really not all that bad for folks. Of
course, this is the same ADEM that claims there are no subsistence fishermen
in Alabama... Guess who this is going to affect the most?
>I had a little time to kill today and I thought that it might be a good
>time to get this years PA fishing license. The regulation booklet is
>8x11, so its fairly large. I was flipping through the booklet to check
>out the baitfish regulations, when I discovered that there are a full 6
>pages devoted to contaminated fish; what species, which waters, and what
>contaminants are present. This is a very sad commentary on how we treat
>Of course, my favorite part is where they explain how to clean and cook
>your contaminated fish. Yeh, good luck with that.
>the land of polluted waters.
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