By Jeffery Robichaud
My boys have been bugging me to go fishing and I just haven’t gotten around to taking them (gotta get some licenses first). Also our fishing hole (the creek down the hill) used to have a nice big pool at the bottom of a low water crossing but when they fixed it up for a new trail, the pool disappeared. Now that they are older they probably wouldn’t be satisfied with the smallish sunfish we used to catch anyway. Maybe I will take them down to the Missouri River to get a look at some Asian Carp.
With the weather finally warming up you might be taking your kids out for this annual rite of passage. Each of our four states (Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska) have wonderful programs to encourage and safeguard this fun pastime for the enjoyment of all.
Fish are an important part of a healthy diet, since they are a lean, low-calorie source of protein. However some caught in lakes and rivers throughout the Midwest (as well as throughout the country) may contain chemicals that could pose health risks if these fish are eaten in large amounts. EPA maintains a system that provides you information about Fish consumption advisories.
There are also a couple of easy things you can do to ensure fish are safe to eat. It’s always a good idea to remove the skin, fat, and internal organs before you cook the fish (since this is where contaminants often accumulate). As added precautions; make sure to remove and throw away the head, guts, kidneys, and the liver; fillet fish and cut away the fat and skin before you cook it; and clean and dress fish as soon as possible. You can find EPA’s guide about eating the fish you catch here.
In future blog articles we hope to share with you information about Regions 7’s Ambient Fish Tissue (RAFT) Program, one of the longest running in the country. Until then, Happy Fishing.
Jeffery Robichaud is a second generation EPA scientist who has worked for the Agency since 1998. He currently serves as Deputy Director of EPA Region 7′s Environmental Services Division. His prize catch was a a 6am catfish as a youngster at a campground in Illinois (unfortunately he woke up everyone in the camp screaming for his father since it bent his pole in half).