AR-News: To fish or not to fish? Think twice
wolfcrest at hotmail.com
Tue Jun 15 12:37:21 EDT 2004
To fish or not to fish? Think twice
New warnings caution anglers of Willamette River health risks
By BEN JACKLET Issue date: Tue, Jun 15, 2004
Some Portlanders would no sooner fish their dinner from the Willamette
River than they would hunt for wild game in Forest Park.
Others, like Terry Gallant and Mike Klopfenstein, have been fishing the
Willamette for years and have no plans to stop now that summers returning.
So how safe is the Willamette for fishing?
It depends on what youre catching. The latest data shows that migratory
fish like spring Chinook salmon are as clean as fish get, while resident
fish such as small-mouthed bass are often dangerously loaded with
polychlorinated biphenyls, toxic pesticides, dioxin and other contaminants.
As for sturgeon, the ancient fish that Gallant and Klopfenstein were
pursuing on a recent morning on the Willamette, new tests show that they
also contain some toxins, though at much lower levels than bass, carp and
other resident fish.
State and county health officials are issuing an updated fish advisory
this week and posting new signs along the river warning of the health risks
of eating fish caught in the Willamette.
The latest data show that carp contain the most PCBs, at around 2 parts
per million, while bass have about 1 part per million and bullhead catfish
contain approximately 0.5 parts per million.
Based on those levels of PCBs, scientists are recommending that women
beyond childbearing age and healthy men should eat no more than 8 ounces of
resident fish from the Willamette per month. Women of childbearing age,
children and anyone with a weak immune system or thyroid or liver problems
should avoid eating any carp, bass or catfish from the Willamette, according
to the health advisory.
The new warnings follow a massive fish collection effort performed two
years ago. As part of the Portland harbor Superfund investigation,
scientists caught about 1,500 fish from the lower Willamette and sent them
off to labs to be tested for 399 chemicals.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency still has not released the
results from those tests publicly. But David Stone, a toxicologist with the
states health department, confirmed that the fish advisory and the new
batch of warning signs were a direct result of the Superfund investigation.
We already knew (the pollutants) were in the river sediment, but I think
some people are surprised at how much turned up in the fish, Stone said.
full story: http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=24829
"Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do," "You've seen one redwood,
you've seen them all." -- Ronald Reagan
"No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up." -- Lily Tomlin
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