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Nova Scotia Environment

Fish consumption advisory

 

Please note that this advisory may be revised as new data becomes available.

POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYLS (PCBs)

You should not to eat fish from Five Island Lake or Sheldrake Lake. Fish from these lakes are contaminated with PCBs. Scientific research suggests that over a number of years, eating a steady diet of contaminated fish may be harmful to human health.

Catch and release regulations are in place on Five Island Lake, Sheldrake Lake, and other lakes in this area (see Recreational Fishing Area 3 in the Nova Scotia Anglers’ Handbook).

MERCURY

Mercury is a naturally occurring metal in the environment. It was also used in many consumer goods and may still be found in products such as thermometers, mirrors, batteries, electrical switches and fluorescent lights.

Mercury is a concern because it can be toxic to people and other living organisms. It does not break down in the environment and it accumulates in living organisms, such as fish. When people eat these fish, they may have negative health effects.

How much fish is safe to eat?
While there are health benefits to eating fish, there are some species in Nova Scotia that should only be eaten in smaller quantities or not at all if you are at higher risk.

If you eat fish more than four times per month, you should choose smaller size fish, and choose fish like rainbow trout that do not have an advisory in the table below.

 

 

Consumption limit

Species

Fish Length < (measured nose to tail fork)

General Public Over age 12

Women who are or may become pregnant
and / or are breast feeding

Children age 5-11

Children age 1-4

Infants (less than 1 year of age)

Rainbow Trout

Any Size

No Advisory

No Advisory

No Advisory

No Advisory

No Advisory

Brook Trout

Under 25 cm
(9.8 in)

2 servings
per week

1 serving
per week

1½ servings
per month

3/4 serving
per month

½ serving
per month

Brook Trout

Over 25 cm
(9.8 in)

1 serving
per week

1 serving
per month

Avoid

Avoid

Avoid

Yellow Perch

Under 20 cm
(7.9 in)

1 serving
per week

2 servings
per month

½ serving
per month

Avoid

Avoid

Yellow Perch

Over 20 cm
(7.9 in)

1 serving
per month

Avoid

Avoid

Avoid

Avoid

White Perch

Under 25 cm
(9.8 in)

2 servings
per month

1 serving
per month

Avoid

Avoid

Avoid

White Perch

Over 25 cm
(9.8 in)

1 serving
per month

½ serving
per month

Avoid

Avoid

Avoid

Chain Pickerel

Under 35 cm
(13.8 in)

2 servings
per week

1 serving
per week

1½ servings
per month

1 serving
per month

½ serving
per month

Chain Pickerel

Over 35 cm
(13.8 in)

2 servings
per month

1 serving
per month

Avoid

Avoid

Avoid

Smallmouth Bass

Under 35 cm
(13.8 in)

3 servings
per month

1 serving
per month

1½ servings
per month

Avoid

Avoid

Smallmouth Bass

Over 35 cm
(13.8 in)

2 servings
per month

Avoid

Avoid

Avoid

Avoid

Other freshwater species

Any Size

1 serving
per week

Avoid

Avoid

Avoid

Avoid

1 serving = 75g or 2½oz or 125mL or ½cup of cooked fish (Canada’s Food Guide)

Why are there limits on some fish but not others?

Some fish species eat other smaller fish, so mercury may build up faster in them than it does in fish that eat plants and insects. As a result, fish like smallmouth bass and chain pickerel that eat other fish may have higher mercury levels in their flesh. Larger and older fish also tend to have higher mercury levels because it builds up in their flesh over time.

If there is no fish consumption advisory, it means that either the fish species has not been tested for mercury levels, or it is below human health guidelines for mercury levels.

Health Canada provides more information about mercury in fish

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