DELTA FISH ADVISORY UPDATE

On August 1, 2011, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) jointly announced removal of the following water bodies (also shown on Figure 1 below) from the 2001 Delta Regional Fish Advisory:

  • Bee Lake located in Holmes County;
  • Black Bayou located in Washington County;
  • Charlie Capps Lake located in Bolivar County;
  • Recon Lake (or Rainy’s Lake) located in Bolivar County; and
  • Steele Bayou located in Issaquena, Sharkey, Warren, and Washington Counties.




Figure 1

The Mississippi Fish Advisory Task Force made this determination through fish tissue data analysis. As a result of this withdrawal, people can now consume all species of fish caught from the above listed water bodies in the Delta. The Mississippi Fish Advisory Task Force is comprised of representatives from the MDEQ, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR), the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP), and the MSDH.

Except for the water bodies listed above, the waters located west of the mainstem Mississippi River levee, the Mississippi River, and catfish farms, the 2001 Delta Regional Fish Advisory now applies to the remaining Delta, from the Bluff Hills to the Mississippi River levee. This advisory recommends that people limit their consumption of buffalo, carp, gar, and large catfish (>22”), to no more than two meals per month from all other water bodies in this part of the state.

The Delta Regional Fish Advisory was originally issued in 2001 due to elevated levels of the pesticides DDT and toxaphene in certain types of fish. This advisory recommends that people limit their consumption of carp, gar, buffalo and large catfish (>22”) to no more than two meals per month, and for people not to eat buffalo from Roebuck Lake. This advisory modification also removes this “No Consumption” restriction for buffalo from Roebuck Lake. However, Roebuck Lake remains under the general Delta Regional Fish Advisory.

Multiple federal, state and local government agencies, non-government organizations, farmers, citizens and other stakeholders in the Delta have been working together to bring a balance between the need of agriculture and protection of Mississippi’s natural resources. The continued decline in pesticide levels in fish from these waters is partially due to:

    • Natural breakdown of DDT and toxaphene with time; and
    • Ongoing implementation of watershed restoration plans and best management practices to keep soil, chemicals, nutrients and other pollutants out of the Delta streams.
The Mississippi Fish Advisory Task Force will continue to analyze fish tissue data to determine the need for further modification of the 2001 Delta Regional Fish Advisory. For additional information on this and other fish advisories, please click on the link below: