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*not all advisories are listed (more info)
Important Label Heading
1 serving = 75 grams, ½ cup, 2.5 ounces or a piece of cooked fish that fits into the palm of your hand.
No limt is defined as greater than 6 servings per week.
Advisories updated as of
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Important Label Heading
Mercury is a naturally-occurring element found in rocks, soils, water and air. Mercury is released into the air naturally, and from household and industrial wastes such as burning coal. Mercury in the air returns to the ground and water with the rain and snow. Once in a lake, mercury is converted to methylmercury by bacteria or chemical reactions.
Fish absorb methylmercury from water as it passes through their gills, or from the prey they eat. It is likely that all fish contain small amounts of mercury because mercury is a naturally occurring element. However, large predatory fish, like walleye and northern pike, accumulate more methylmercury as they consume smaller fish. This is why we often find high levels of methylmercury in large walleye and northern pike caught in Alberta water bodies.
Methylmercury is found in all fish tissues, including flesh. Methylmercury is easily absorbed by humans when eating fish. There is no method of cooking or cleaning fish which reduces the amount of methylmercury in a meal.
Methylmercury builds up in your body over time. Small amounts of mercury can be safely eliminated, but large amounts of mercury in the body may damage the nervous system. An unborn baby is more sensitive to mercury poisoning due to rapid brain development during this period.
People generally benefit from eating fish, but young children and women of child-bearing age or pregnant women may be harmed if they eat too much fish containing high levels of mercury. It is important to know the safe amount of fish you can eat.
Health Canada has set a guideline of 0.5 parts per million (ppm) of mercury for retail fish and seafood for people who infrequently eat commercially-produced fish and seafood. For safe consumption amounts of retail fish and seafood, please check the Health Canada website.
For those who eat fish on a day-to-day basis, such as First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, Health Canada recommends limiting fish consumption if the mercury levels in fish are more than 0.2 ppm and under 0.5 ppm.
The Government of Alberta is responsible for issuing and reviewing fish consumption advisories for fish caught from local water bodies. Fish consumption advisories enable people to make informed decisions about what is a safe amount of fish that can be consumed, while balancing the potential health risks and known health benefits of eating fish. Fish consumption advisories can tell the public which fish should be eaten less often or should not be eaten at all depending on the mercury levels in particular species, fish size and water bodies.
Fish consumption advisories are posted in the Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations under “helpful information.” They are also posted on My Wild Alberta, and on the Should I Eat This Fish? page of this website, and the “Should I Eat this Fish?” App.
In order to balance the benefits and risk of eating fish, consumption limits in the advisories are recommended for Albertans who eat fish caught from local water bodies on a regular basis for their entire life time. These fish consumers, also called a “high intake group,” may include First Nations people and recreational anglers in Alberta.
Different fish consumption limits are provided to four consumer groups: children 1 to 4 years old; children 5 to 11 years old; women of child-bearing age (15 to 49 years old) and pregnant women; and adults, plus children over 12 years old. Because women of child-bearing age and young children are more susceptible to potential health risk posed by exposure to high levels of mercury, they should eat less fish.
Recommended fish consumption limits are available in tables on the Should I Eat This Fish? page of this website, the “Should I Eat This Fish?” App, and on My Wild Alberta . If mercury levels are over 0.5 ppm, you will see an “avoid” indicator for women of child-bearing age and pregnant women, and young children. Adults and children over 12 years old can eat the recommended amount of fish as posted in the tables.
You can eat certain amounts of fish that have mercury levels less than 0.5 ppm. Please check carefully the location of water bodies, fish species and fish size. For example, a northern pike weighing over three pounds from the Red Deer River (downstream from the mouth of the Blindman River), has consumption limits of four servings per week for women of child-bearing age and pregnant women, two servings per week for children aged five to 11 years, and one serving per week for children aged one to four years . Adults and children over 12 years old can eat northern pike without restricting the serving size.
If you catch northern pike less than three pounds from the Red Deer River (downstream from the mouth of the Blindman River), you can eat more servings than the amounts posted in the tables. If you catch other types of fish (not walleye, northern pike and mountain whitefish) from the Red Deer River (downstream from the mouth of the Blindman River), you can eat fish without restricting the serving size.
One serving equals 75 grams, ½ cup, 2.5 ounces, or a piece of cooked fish that fits into the palm of your hand.
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Health Protection Branch
P.O. Box 1360, Station Main
Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 1S6
To protect public health, Health Canada has proposed mercury guidelines, and advisories for different fish consumer groups (Health Canada,1979; Feeley and Lo, 1998; Health Canada 2007, Feeley 2008) based on total mercury (THg) or methylmercury (MeHg). These values are expressed either in units of mg THg or MeHg per g of fish flesh or as a Provisional Tolerable Daily Intake (pTDI) in units of mg THg or MeHg per kg of consumer body mass per day:
The guidelines for commercial fish/seafood are used as a general screening criterion, with the knowledge that most species of commercial fish usually contain lower levels (< 0.1 mg/g) of mercury. This guideline is enforceable by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for commercial fish. For example, the CFIA has been monitoring total mercury (THg) levels in commercial fish caught from Lake Athabasca in Alberta since the early 1990s. The recommendation for subsistence consumers proposed by Health Canada was put in place in the 1970s when the Medical Services Branch became aware of long term fish consumption patterns of over 100 g/day (Health Canada 1979). The recommendation is for First Nations and Inuit people relying on subsistence fresh water fishing First Nations and Inuit subsistence consumers should limit their fish consumption if the mercury levels in the fish they are eating are over 0.2 mg THg/g of fish tissue. Consumption of fish containing over 0.5 mg THg/g of fish tissue should be avoided by all consumers. Fish consumption advisories are developed based on these pTDIs. These advisories provide the public with a warning of potential health risk resulting from consuming local mercury containing fish. Fish consumption advisories are designed to minimize the potential health risks to fish consumers who can voluntarily restrict their fish consumption.
The criteria for issuing fish consumption advisories are:
For more information and abovementioned references please see the Mercury in Fish in Alberta Water Bodies 2009-2013.
Please note that the data presented here is only that which is owned by the Government of Alberta. Additional research and reporting such as the Alberta Health Mercury in Fish reports and fish consumption advisories may be based on data from other government agencies that Government of Alberta does not own nor has the permission to release. The data presented on this website may not be sufficient to generate the results shown in the reports or as the basis for issuing fish consumption advisories.
Some waterbodies not displayed here may still have advisories issued for them. For the latest available advisories, please visit our Should I Eat This Fish? app or the My Wild Alberta website. For technical details and a listing of data sources used to inform the advisories, please consult with the Alberta Health Mercury in Fish reports .
Mercury is a naturally-occurring metal found in rocks, soils, water and air. Mercury is released into the air from natural processes like forest fires, household waste and industrial processes such as burning coal. It can return to the ground and water in rain and snow. Mercury can also be taken up directly from the air by plants and soils. Mercury from these various sources can accumulate in organisms that live in lakes and rivers. It can reach high concentrations in fish at the top of the food chain. Large amounts of mercury in the human body from consumption of fish that contain large amounts of mercury can cause neurological effects and poses a risk to health.
This tool is designed to allow you to explore historical fish mercury data from Alberta lakes. For the latest available advisories, please visit our Should I Eat This Fish? app or the My Wild Alberta website. For technical details and a listing of data sources used to inform the advisories, please consult the Alberta Health Mercury in Fish Reports.
Clicking the charts' titles will colour the test results’ plotted points so that it matches the colour of the chart you have selected.
You can click and drag to filter the results within a specific range, or click to select a specific year. The light grey background of the chart represents all of the data combined. The coloured and dark grey represents data that matches your current filters and selections. To clear your filters and start over hit the “reset” button at the top right corner of the chart you have filtered.
Alternatively, you can search for a species or waterbody by typing in the search bar. Use the arrow keys to navigate the results. Both a species and a waterbody must be selected to see any test results in the graphs on the right.
Before you can see any of the “Test Results” on the right you need to select a species and a waterbody from the list.
Greyed out options indicate items with no data available that match your selections and filters.
Having selected a species and a waterbody you can examine the test results. Hovering your mouse over a result will show the exact data for that sample.
You can also view and select lakes from a map if you wish.
As with the list view, light grey indicates that there is no data for these filters.
Print or save your findings by clicking here.
For current advisories for all available species and waterbodies please visit our Should I Eat This Fish? page.
A species with an exclamation mark symbol indicates that there is a fish consumption advisory for that species in the selected waterbody. The same symbol can be observed for waterbodies when a species that has a consumption advisory is selected. In map view, the presence of a fish consumption advisory is indicated by a red circle surrounding the waterbody.