DNR Finds Some Fish Less Contaminated, Eases Consumption Warnings


The Department of Natural Resources has reduced some Wisconsin fish consumption warnings after the latest round of testing for chemicals including mercury and PCBs.

Clean-up of PCBs in the Fox River near Green Bay may be a reason that levels of the contaminant are down in some fish species in portions of the waterway. DNR toxicologist Candy Schrank says the lower levels have led the state to advise people they can eat some fish species more often, including white bass. “Depending on where you are in the Fox River or Green Bay, the advice is now [as many as] six meals per year for Green Bay, and six meals a year for the lower Fox from De Pere downstream to the mouth.”

Previously, people were advised not to eat white bass from the lower section of the Fox River. Five consumption advisories for Lake Superior have also been relaxed, and so has one advisory in Sawyer County due to lower mercury levels. But Schrank says three other lakes in the north have enough of a mercury problem that consumption warnings have been raised there.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Amber Meyer Smith of Clean Wisconsin says in general, the DNR report is good news, and shows the value of water clean-up projects. She says more can be done to curb mercury pollution. “So [we are] looking at efforts to encourage more recycling of thermostats, and tackling other products that contain mercury.”

Smith also hopes for no backtracking on a rule passed a few years ago to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. The DNR fish consumption advisories are online and at regional DNR offices.