Can I eat the fish from
The Lake Champlain watershed offers many opportunities to catch your own healthy fish meal. Trout, salmon, bass, and perch may be found in the Lake or in tributary streams. However, it is important to be aware of consumption advisories for some species of fish found in the watershed.
Fish can be an important part of a healthy diet, and a great way to eat local food in the Lake Champlain watershed. However, similar to the case of many seafoods, there are consumption advisories in place for fish caught in Lake Champlain and its tributaries. New York, Québec, and Vermont have each determined safe consumption levels for their jurisdictions, designed to provide guidance to consumers about safely eating fish from the watershed.
Most fish consumption advisories exist because of the amount of mercury found in the flesh of the species listed. Figure 10 illustrates the advisories for New York, Québec, and Vermont for many Lake Champlain species. Generally, smaller fish such as yellow perch have less mercury than larger sport fish, and younger fish have less than older fish. Lake trout and walleye are higher in the food chain; they consume many smaller fish over time, and bioaccumulate contaminants found in their prey. As a result, advisories are less restrictive for yellow perch than for lake trout, meaning the advisory suggests consumption of more meals of yellow perch than of lake trout is safe in a one-month period.
National and local efforts to reduce mercury pollution have been successful over the past two decades. Mercury concentrations in fish tissues, particularly in walleye and lake trout, have significantly decreased over the past several years (Figure 11), allowing some consumption advisories to be relaxed.
Go Natural: Reduce or eliminate application of pesticides and herbicides on your lawn and in your gardens. Choose less toxic alternatives for pest control.
Clean Green: Use less toxic cleaners. Not all household chemicals are removed by wastewater treatment. Use personal care products that do not contain plastic microbeads.
Take It Back: Never flush unused pharmaceuticals. Return them to the pharmacy or find authorized drug collection locations in your area.
Don’t Trash Toxics: Take toxic waste to a hazardous waste drop-off center. This includes electronics, motor oil, paint, adhesives, pesticides, herbicides, and mercury-bearing items like non-digital thermometers and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
Look for Leaks: Keep cars, boats and other machinery in good working order to eliminate oil and fluid leaks.
Pick Up after Pets: Dispose of pet waste in the garbage. The droppings of dogs and other pets contain harmful bacteria that can cause beach closings.