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Fish consumption advisories

Fishing is a popular activity in the lakes bordering Mecklenburg County. In most cases, fish caught in nearby lakes are safe to eat.

Pile of fish on dock      State health officials from the two Carolinas sample fish tissue and, when necessary, issue advisories about eating fish.

The advisories tell people to either limit how much of a certain type of fish they eat or tell them to avoid eating certain types of fish.

In some cases, advisories are stronger for children or for women of child-bearing age.

See current fish consumption advisories affecting Charlotte-Mecklenburg. 

Additional advisories

Lake Norman
On April 9, 2013, the above fish consumption advisory information was updated. The State of North Carolina issued an advisory for striped bass caught in Lake Norman. Fish tissue samples show elevated levels of PCBs in that type of bass in Lake Norman. ​

Mountain Island Lake
Also on April 9, 2013, the State of North Carolina issued an updated fish consumption advisory for Mountain Island Lake. Blue catfish from that lake are now on the State's advisory list, along with channel catfish and largemouth bass, due to elevated levels of PCBs. Read the 2011 State of NC news release about fish in Mountain Island Lake.

Lake Wylie
On Dec. 22, 2011, the State of North Carolina issued an additional advisory for largemouth bass caught in Lake Wylie in Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties. Fish tissue samples show elevated levels of PCBs in largemouth bass caught in Lake Wylie. Earlier tests in Lake Wylie also showed high levels of Mercury in largemouth bass. Read the 2011 State of NC news release about fish in Lake Wylie.

News release from Storm Water Services issued January 2012 explaining fish tissue sampling in local lakes

North Carolina fis​h consumption advisories

South Carolina fish consumption advisories

Boy at lake with fishing rod
Fish consumption advisories do not mean the lake water itself is unsafe. Some metals and chemicals build up in fish tissue. When that happens, people who eat the fish could consume concentrated levels of those chemicals. The levels of PCBs, mercury and other contaminants is usually much higher in the fish tissue than in the surrounding water.  

Because these contaminants are less concentrated in the water than in fish tissue, they do not present a known health risk for people using Charlotte-Mecklenburg area lakes or the Catawba River for recreation such as swimming, wading or boating.