SAN DIEGO — A state fish advisory was issued for El Capitan Reservoir in San Diego County last month.
The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) says those eating fish from this lake, which is located about two miles northwest of the town of Alpine, should follow their “safe eating advice.”
OEHHA says officials developed these recommendations based on the levels of mercury found in fish caught from the lake, including black bass species, blue catfish, Mississippi silverside, sculpin, sunfish species and threadfin shad.
Mercury can damage the brain and nervous system, especially in developing children and fetuses, OEHHA explained.
When consuming fish from El Capitan Reservoir, the following advice is issued:
— Women ages 18-49 and children ages 1-17 should not eat black bass species or blue catfish. They may safely eat a maximum of five total servings per week of Mississippi silverside, sculpin, or threadfin Shad; or three servings per week of sunfish species.
— Women ages 50 and older and men ages 18 and older may safely eat a maximum of seven total servings per week of Mississippi silverside, sculpin, sunfish species, or threadfin shad; or one total serving per week of black bass species or blue catfish.
According to OEHHA, one serving is an eight-ounce fish fillet, measured prior to cooking, which is roughly the size and thickness of your hand. For small fish species, several individual fish may make up a single serving.
Officials recommend that children should eat smaller servings.
“Many fish have nutrients that may reduce the risk of heart disease and are excellent sources of protein,” said OEHHA Director Dr. Lauren Zeise. “By following our guidelines for fish caught in El Capitan Reservoir, people can safely eat fish low in chemical contaminants and enjoy the well-known health benefits of fish consumption.”