LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Department of Health has warned about walleye caught from either Bull Shoals or Norfolk lakes.
In a Thursday joint announcement from the ADH and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the agencies reported walleye caught from each lake tested for high levels of mercury. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality tested the fish.
The departments recommend eating no more than two meals per month of walleye from these lakes. High-risk individuals, such as pregnant or breastfeeding women, women planning on being pregnant, or children under seven, should never eat walleye from the lakes, officials said.
Officials said that eating fish with high mercury content will not make people sick immediately, but the effects can build up over time and cause harm.
Mercury is a neurotoxin, meaning it is harmful to nerve tissue. The Environmental Protection Agency states that mercury consumption could damage the gastrointestinal tract, nervous system and kidneys.
The announcement cites walleye specifically and the health risks for someone who regularly eats fish from these lakes. Officials said people who only occasionally eat fish from the lakes are at little risk.
Currently, officials said that over 20 Arkansas bodies of water have a fish consumption warning in place. Nationally a consumption warning exists for at least one fish in all 50 states.
Updates to fish consumption caution may be found on the ADH Fish Advisories website.