A report just out from the Oklahoma DEQ contains important information that can help you make safe,
informed choices about consuming fish caught in lakes throughout the state.
Mercury Levels Unsafe in Some Oklahoma Fish
By Keith “Catfish” Sutton
Oklahoma’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently released a report examining fish in all Sooner State lakes. Fish in 73 lakes, including some catfish, were found to have some levels of mercury, meaning they could be unsafe for human consumption.
“There are some lakes where we recommend people not eat any meals of certain species of fish,” said Erin Hatfield with the DEQ.
Some lakes have fish that are unsafe for anyone to eat, while in other waters, it’s recommended not to eat certain fish more than one or two times a month. In other lakes, the DEQ encourages people to eat fish they catch, but people should stay informed to know all the facts. For example, there are different warnings for the general population and sensitive population. The latter includes women of childbearing age and children up to the age of 15.
“Those are the people on which mercury has the biggest impact because it affects the brains of developing fetuses and young children,” Hatfield said.
So, how do you know which fish are safe to eat, what lakes have advisories and what fish you should not eat if you catch them? It’s a case-by-case basis because no body of water is the same.
You can find a link to the DEQ advisory—“2023 Mercury in Fish: A Guide to Healthy Consumption in Oklahoma”—that breaks it down by lake and fish by clicking here.