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Fish Consumption Advisory For Lake Ouachita

Tests find levels of mercury in Lake Ouachita fish.
LAKE OUACHITA, AR -- The Arkansas Health Department is warning about eating too much fish from the largest lake in the Natural State.

Game and Fish tests found levels of mercury in fish at Lake Ouachita that could be a health risk.

Tonya Morgan said, "It's scary because most of the people eat the fish out of the lake and nobody knows that."

According to the Arkansas Health Department the mercury levels are high enough that it could put human health at risk, but that's only if you eat the fish on a regular basis.

But Fisherman Kip Spainhour says he's not too concerned.

He lives near the lake and says it's important to be aware of the advisory, but it shouldn't prevent people from fishing here.

He said, "I don't think it's as bad as some people might think."

Our fishing expert Big Sarge says there's been mineral mines in the area since 1928, so he says finding mercury in fish is not surprising.

He said, "Stay away from eating it all the time, but I do have friends down there that eat it daily and there's nothing wrong with them. It's a very small amount of mercury, but it is there."

Just to be safe though, doctors say pregnant and nursing moms along with small children should skip the Lake Ouachita fish for now.

The Health Department also made a list of fish not to eat from Lake Ouachita, including largemouth or white bass that are 13 inches or longer and striped bass that are 25 inches or longer.

The area is still safe for swimming and boating.

The advisory does not limit the use of Lake Ouachita as a drinking water source.

If you would like to follow Melissa Schroeder's reports on Facebook, you can click here and like her page.


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