Kansas warns residents of fish consumption advisories

FILE(Colorado Parks and Wildlife)
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 9:28 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - State officials have warned Kansans that not all types of fish in all bodies of water are safe to consume and have provided information to keep residents healthy.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks announced on Thursday, Jan. 26, that they have issued fish consumption advisories for 2023. The advisories identify types of fish or other aquatic animals that should be eaten in limited quantities or avoided altogether due to contamination.

The KDHE noted that general advice and internet resources have been provided to help residents make informed decisions about the benefits and risks associated with locally caught fish. While eating fish has many benefits, it said all fish contain some amount of mercury. Therefore, those who are mercury-sensitive (i.e. pregnant or nursing women and children younger than 17) should follow these guidelines when eating Kansas fish:

  • Eat smaller portions – a fillet about the size of your palm.
  • Eat types of fish with less mercury (Preferred Choice Fish).
  • If you don’t know the type or size of fish you are eating, wait at least a week before eating fish again.
  • When fishing, keep fish shorter than your forearm (fingertips to elbow) or less than 20 inches as regulations allow.

The Departments indicated that preferred choice fish should only be eaten once or twice per week and include:

  • Blue and Channel Catfish
  • Common Carp
  • Crappies
  • White Bass, White Perch, Wiper, Striped Bass
  • Walleye, Sauger, Saugeye
  • Bullhead Catfish
  • Drum
  • Sunfish (Bluegill, Green, Redear, etc.)

Meanwhile, the KDHE noted that second-choice fish should be eaten about once or twice per month and include:

  • Buffaloes (Black, Bigmouth, Smallmouth)
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Bass (Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted)

The Departments have also recommended restricting the consumption of bottom-feeding fish and catfish to one serving per week from the following locations due to polychlorinated biphenyls:

  • Cow Creek in Hutchinson and downstream to the confluence with the Arkansas River (Reno County).
  • Kansas River from Lawrence (below Bowersock Dam) downstream to Eudora at the confluence of the Wakarusa River (Douglas and Leavenworth counties).
  • Little Arkansas River from the Main Street Bridge immediately west of Valley Center to the confluence with the Arkansas River in Wichita (Sedgwick County).

The KDHE said it recommends also restricting the consumption of bottom-feeding fish and catfish to one serving per month if caught from K-96 Lake in Wichita. It does not recommend eating specified fish or aquatic life from the following bodies of water:

  • Arkansas River from the Lincoln Street dam in Wichita downstream to the confluence with Cowskin Creek near Belle Plaine (Sedgwick and Sumner counties); bottom-feeding fish and catfishes due to PCBs.
  • Shoal Creek from the Missouri/Kansas border to Empire Lake (Cherokee County); shellfish due to lead and cadmium.
  • Spring River from the confluence of Center Creek to the Kansas/Oklahoma border (Cherokee County); shellfish due to lead and cadmium.
  • Antioch Park Lake South in Antioch Park, Overland Park (Johnson County); all fish due to pesticides dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, chlordane and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDTs).
  • Arkalon Park Lakes in Liberal (Seward County) – Kansas recommends not eating any aquatic life because the lakes are sustained solely by treated municipal wastewater.

For more information about the safety of the consumption of Kansas fish, click HERE.

For more information about fishing in Kansas, click HERE.