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Fish consumption advisory issued for Patagonia Lake in Santa Cruz County

Posted August 10, 2022

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), in coordination with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), is issuing a fish consumption advisory for flathead catfish caught from Patagonia Lake in Santa Cruz County.

This advisory is based on recent analyses of fish tissue data that indicate elevated levels of mercury. ADEQ recommends that adults limit consumption of flathead catfish from Patagonia Lake to 2.5 ounces (uncooked weight) per week, and children 12 and younger limit consumption to 2 ounces (uncooked weight) per month.

Fishing, bird watching and other recreational activities at the lake are not affected by this advisory and are encouraged for enjoying the great outdoors. Generally, contaminant levels found in water are significantly lower than those found in fish tissue.

Patagonia Lake offers southern Arizona anglers a chance to experience fishing for beautiful, delicious fish included in the AZGFD/ADEQ Green Light Fisheries Program. “Green Light” fish are species that ADEQ has tested and may be consumed without limits per standard dietary guidelines.

Patagonia Lake’s two Green Light fish are the redear sunfish and bluegill.

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.

Background:

Fish Consumption Advisory: Recommends either limited or no consumption of fish when ADEQ determines contaminant levels in fish tissues taken from an Arizona waterway exceed state health standards; advisories do not apply to commercial fish sold in markets.

Pollutant of Concern: 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. More information 

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