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Occupational & Environmental Epidemiology

Fish Consumption Advisories

Many people enjoy fishing in North Carolina's waters. They also enjoy eating their catch, and fish is a healthy, low-fat source of protein. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) routinely monitors water quality and fish tissue for potential problems (Learn more about the DEQ Water Sciences Section). The vast majority of North Carolina's waters don't have problems, and most fish from them are safe to eat and enjoy. North Carolina encourages people to eat a wide variety of fish because of the health benefits to the heart and to children's developing brains and nervous systems.

However, just as in the rest of the nation, certain fish in and around North Carolina contain high levels of contaminants that may pose a risk to human health. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issues fish consumption advisories for those fish, telling people to either limit consumption or, if necessary, avoid eating those kinds of fish entirely. Unborn children and young children are often more susceptible to developing problems as a result of contact with contaminants; that's why advisories are often more stringent for women of childbearing age and for children.

Common Fish Contaminants

Learn more about mercury in fish and what fish are safe to eat.

Learn more about how fish consumption advisories are developed.

Current fish advisories in effect for North Carolina are available on the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Current Fish Advisories page as well as through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For Additional Information