As a result of high concentrations of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in the Lake sediments and in plant and animal life, New York, Vermont, and Québec have issued fish consumption advisories for certain Lake Champlain fish, including lake trout, Atlantic salmon, and walleye. These contaminants, which can cause birth defects, cancer, or other illnesses in humans, are of concern because of their tendency to bioaccumulate in some fish species. Bioaccumulation is the retention and buildup of contaminants in an animal over time. The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set “action levels” or tolerances for contaminants. If fish tissue analysis indicates that action levels are exceeded, an advisory for eating fish is established by state health departments.
New York, Québec, and Vermont each independently analyze available information for fish commonly caught and consumed from Lake Champlain and provide their own consumption recommendations. Generally, the three advisories recommend limits for a suite of species, and frequently the consumption limits are lower for women and children than for men. Fish consumption advisories for the three jurisdictions for Lake Champlain are listed in the table below.
For more information, please visit the “Can I eat the fish from Lake Champlain?” page of our State of the Lake report.