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Fish safe to eat in most Kansas waters

By Deb Zeiner

If you fish in Kansas, and eat some of the fish you catch, you've probably heard comments like, "You don't eat those, do you?" or "Man, I wouldn't eat those fish if I were you."

The truth is, the fish that are caught in most Kansas waters are perfectly safe to eat. But the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks have issued their 2005 fish consumption advisories for some Kansas waters.

Fish consumption advisories are guidelines for the public to help them make informed decisions about whether or not to consume the fish they catch. The advisories include guidelines for mercury, PCBs, perchlorate, chlordane in fish and lead and cadmium in shellfish.

Consumption of bottom-feeding and-dwelling fish (carp, blue catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, drum, bullhead, sturgeon, buffalo, carp and other sucker fish) from the following areas should be avoided because of chlordane, PCBs and perchlorate:

1. The Kansas River from Lawrence, below the Bowersock Dam, downstream to Eudora at the confluence of the Wakarusa River.This advisory includes bottom-feeding fish due to PCBs.

2. Antioch Park Lake in Overland Park. The advisory includes bottom-feeding fish due to chlordane.

3. Horseshoe Lake in units 22 and 23 of the Mined Land Wildlife Area in Cherokee County. This includes all forms of aquatic life in addition to all fish because of perchlorate contamination.

4. The Spring River from the confluence of Center Creek to the Kansas/Oklahoma border in Cherokee County. The advisory includes shellfish due to lead and cadmium contamination.

Additionally, advisories limiting the consumption of bottom-feeding fish (carp, blue catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, drum, bullhead, sturgeon, buffalo, carp and other sucker fish) to one 8-ounce meal per month or twelve 8-ounce meals per year in the following areas have been issued:

1. The Arkansas River from the Lincoln Street dam in Wichita downstream to the confluence with the Cowskin Creek near Belle Plaine.

2. Cow Creek in Hutchinson, downstream to the confluence with the Arkansas River in Reno County.

And in the following locations, limitations of one 8-ounce meal per week for adults or one 4-ounce meal per week for children under 12 years of age of any species of fish have been recommended:

2. The mainstem of the Blue River from U.S. Highway 69 to the Kansas-Missouri state line in Johnson County.

Bon appetite!

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