LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas Department of Health has issued a fish consumption advisory for walleye on two lakes in north central Arkansas.

Bull Shoals Lake, located in Marion, Baxter and Boone counties, is affected as well as Norfork Lake, which covers Baxter and Fulton counties.

The advisory comes after some walleye from both lakes were found to contain levels of mercury that have the potential to put human health at risk.

According to the ADH, there is a scheduled meeting on Feb. 7 at the Donald W. Reynolds Library in Mountain Home beginning at 5 p.m. to answer questions on the advisory.

The ADH says this advisory does not affect swimmers, skiers, boaters, catch and release activities, or other recreational uses and does not limit the use of Bull Shoals Lake or Norfork Lake as a drinking water source.

Occasional fish consumers, such as vacationers and sport anglers, are at little risk for adverse health effects, the ADH says. The department says those most at risk include pregnant women, small children, and people who frequently eat walleye from Bull Shoals or Norfork lakes.

The fish consumption advisory is as follows:

  • High-Risk Groups (pregnant women, breastfeeding women, women planning to be pregnant, and children under the age of seven years):
  • Should not eat walleye (18 inches or longer) from these lakes.
  • General Public (men, women, and children seven years and older):
  • Recommend eating no more than two meals per month of walleye (18 inches or longer) from these lakes.

Eating fish with mercury will not make people sick right away, but as you eat more, it can build up in the body and over time, potentially cause adverse health effects, according to the ADH.

Currently, over 20 waterbodies in Arkansas are under a fish consumption advisory due to mercury.

For more information about fish consumption advisories in Arkansas, visit healthy.arkansas.gov and type ‘mercury’ in the Smart Search box located on the right-hand side of the page. You may also visit Fish Consumption Advisories.