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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: June 3, 2009
CONTACT: Tom Niejadlik, DES, Environmental Health Program 603-271-6865
Doug Grout, NH Fish and Game Department, Marine Division 603-868-1095

DES and NH Fish and Game Issue Advisory on Striped Bass and Bluefish Consumption
New Hampshire is One of Seven East Coast States Issuing Limits

Concord - The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, in coordination with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and six other east coast states, has issued a fish consumption advisory for large bluefish and striped bass caught in New Hampshire coastal and estuarine waters.

According to state health officials, large bluefish and striped bass (larger than 25 inches) contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at levels of potential concern to the general public. This concern is especially true for pregnant women and young children. PCBs can affect the endocrine system and brain development, and have been shown to cause cancer in animal studies.

State health officials advised that striped bass and large bluefish caught in New Hampshire coastal and estuarine waters should not be eaten by pregnant women, women of childbearing age, nursing mothers and children under the age of six. The remainder of the general population should eat no more than one meal of such fish per month.

“Fortunately there are many other marine and freshwater species that consumers can eat more frequently and that have health benefits,” stated DES Commissioner Tom Burack. In New Hampshire, commonly eaten fish that are low in PCBs and other contaminants include winter flounder, Atlantic cod, haddock, and fluke.

DES’ advisory stems from a multi-state report finalized in 2008, which documented the PCB content of striped bass and bluefish from Maine to Georgia. The report also shows that these fish are not particularly good sources of beneficial fish oils. Compared to other fish, striped bass and bluefish have lower amounts of omega-3 fatty acids relative to the amount of PCBs they contain. For a copy of the report see http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/eohp/fish/PCBSTBhome.htm

Similar advice is being issued by six other east coast states today including Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. These states are all instructing pregnant women and young children to not eat striped bass and large bluefish, and are advising the general public to moderate consumption of these fish. These states will continue to monitor PCB levels in coastal marine species and will modify the consumption advisory as needed in the future.

For more information contact Tom Niejadlik at (603) 271-6865 or visit www.des.nh.gov and look on the A-Z list for Fish Consumption Guidelines.

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