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ADEQ Recommends Limiting Consumption of Largemouth Bass Caught in Willow Springs Lake, Coconino County

Posted May 22, 2017

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, in association with the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), has issued a fish consumption advisory for largemouth bass caught from Willow Springs Lake in Coconino County that recommends healthy consumption amounts. This advisory is based on recent analysis of Willow Springs Lake largemouth bass fish tissue sample data that showed elevated levels of mercury.

ADEQ recommends that adults limit consumption of largemouth bass to 2.5 ounces (uncooked weight) per week and children 12 years of age and younger limit consumption to two ounces per month (uncooked weight).

Willow Springs Lake is home to a variety of fish and during the spring and summer, the AGFD stocks the lake with rainbow trout that can be eaten in unlimited amounts.

Fishing, bird watching, swimming and other recreational activities at Willow Springs Lake are not affected by this advisory and are encouraged for enjoying the great outdoors. Generally, any contaminant levels found in water are several folds lower than in fish tissue.

Fish are an excellent source of protein and can be an important part of a healthy, diverse diet as they are low in saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends people eat at least two fish or seafood meals every week. The public health recommendations in this advisory are based on frequent and long-term consumption of fish, not infrequent or occasional fish meals.


Fish Consumption Advisory: A fish consumption advisory recommends healthy servings of fish when ADEQ determines contaminant levels in fish tissues taken from an Arizona waterway exceed state health standards. These advisories do not apply to commercial fish sold in markets.

Mercury in the environment can come from various sources and cause numerous health problems such as damage to the central nervous system, depending on the exposure. Infants and pregnant or nursing mothers are considered most at risk to possible health effects. Fish can accumulate elevated levels of mercury when larger fish consume smaller fish and insects.