SACRAMENTO – A state fish advisory issued today for Whiskeytown Lake in Shasta County provides safe eating advice for black bass species, Brook Trout, Sacramento Pikeminnow, Sacramento Sucker, and sunfish species.

The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) developed the recommendations based on the levels of mercury found in fish caught from the lake.

“Many fish have nutrients that may reduce the risk of heart disease and are excellent sources of protein,” said Dr. Lauren Zeise, director of OEHHA. “By following our guidelines for fish caught in Whiskeytown Lake, people can safely eat fish low in chemical contaminants and enjoy the well-known health benefits of fish consumption.”

Whiskeytown Lake is located approximately nine miles west of Redding, in Shasta County.

When consuming fish from Whiskeytown Lake, women ages 18-49 and children ages 1-17 should not eat Sacramento Pikeminnow. They may safely eat a maximum of seven total servings per week of Brook Trout, or two servings per week of sunfish species, or one serving per week of black bass species or Sacramento Sucker.

Women ages 50 and older and men ages 18 and older may safely eat a maximum of seven total servings per week of Brook Trout, or six servings per week of sunfish species, or two servings per week of black bass species or Sacramento Sucker, or one serving per week of Sacramento Pikeminnow.

One serving is an eight-ounce fish fillet, measured prior to cooking, which is roughly the size and thickness of your hand. Children should be given smaller servings. For small fish species, several individual fish may make up a single serving.

For fish species found in Whiskeytown Lake that are not included in this advisory, OEHHA recommends following the statewide advisory for eating fish from California lakes and reservoirs without site-specific advice.

Mercury is a naturally occurring metal that is released into the environment from mining and burning coal. It accumulates in fish in the form of methylmercury, which can damage the brain and nervous system, especially in developing children and fetuses. Because of this, OEHHA provides a separate set of recommendations specifically for children up to age 17, and women of childbearing age (18-49 years).

Eating fish in amounts slightly greater than the advisory’s recommendations is not likely to cause health problems if it is done occasionally, such as eating fish caught during an annual vacation.

Whiskeytown Lake advisory recommendations join more than 100 other OEHHA advisories that provide site-specific, health-based fish consumption advice for many of the places where people catch and eat fish in California, including lakes, rivers, bays, reservoirs, and the California coast.

The health advisory and eating advice for Whiskeytown Lake – as well as eating guidelines for other fish species in California bodies of water – are available on OEHHA’s Fish Advisories webpage. The Whiskeytown Lake poster is available in both English and Spanish.

OEHHA’s mission is to protect and enhance the health of Californians and our state’s environment through scientific evaluations that inform, support and guide regulatory and other actions.