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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2010

DHEC updates ‘Fish Smart, Eat Smart’ campaign for 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolinians who like to fish can go online for newly updated information to find out if the fish on their line is safe to eat or should be released because of possible contamination, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today.

“Our website at www.scdhec.gov/fish has a state map with the latest advisories, information, a booklet and other materials that can be downloaded,” said David Wilson, chief of DHEC’s Bureau of Water. “This information will help our citizens determine whether to keep and eat the fish they catch in South Carolina waters or release them back into the water.”

According to Wilson, certain species from Lake Wateree have been added to this year’s advisory due to PCB levels in their tissue. Blue catfish and striped bass are each recommended for no more than one meal per month. Largemouth bass is recommended for no more than one meal per week. There are no consumption restrictions advised on Lake Wateree’s black crappie. Advisory signs will be posted around Lake Wateree at public boat landings.

“We’re looking into potential sources of PCB contamination in the Catawba River Watershed and conducting additional fish tissue testing for PCBs throughout the watershed and will update the advisory information as needed,” Wilson said.

“People can still safely eat fish taken from the state’s waters if they follow the fish consumption advisory guidelines,” he said. “These guidelines tell you the types and amounts of fish that are safe to eat from waters in South Carolina.”

Each advisory is based on one meal (or 8 ounces) of uncooked fish, which is about the size of two decks of cards. Consumption advice is given for a specific species of fish within a water body. The contamination is in the fish and does not make the water unsafe for recreational or drinking uses.

Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet for everyone, including women and children. Fish and shellfish contain protein and nutrients, are low in saturated fat and contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Wilson said, however, that pregnant women, women who might become pregnant, infants and children should not eat any fish with an advisory. These high risk groups are also advised not to eat any king mackerel, shark, swordfish or tilefish.

Copies of the consumption advisory booklets will be available from DHEC county public health departments, DHEC Environmental Quality Control regional offices, S.C. Department of Natural Resources district offices, Sportsman’s Warehouse in Columbia, Bass Pro Shop in Myrtle Beach, OB/GYN offices, health clinics, many state parks or on DHEC’s website at: http://www.scdhec.gov/fish.

For additional questions or concerns about fish consumption advisories, call DHEC’s Fish Advisory Hotline toll-free at 1-888-849-7241.

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For media inquiries:
Adam Myrick - (803) 898-3884
E-mail - myrickar@dhec.sc.gov
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