Friday, March 2nd, 2012
By Nancy Allen
State says Grand Lake's fish safe to eat
Black crappie tests positive for algae toxin; not enough to prompt consumption advisory
  GRAND LAKE - A statewide fish consumption report released this week confirms what earlier tests showed - the fish in Grand Lake are safe to eat.
The state sampled fish tissue from a variety of species in Grand Lake and Lake Erie in November 2010 and in June and August of 2011 for microcystin, a blue-green algae toxin that can cause liver damage.
Only black crappie sampled from Grand Lake in June showed low levels of microcystin but not enough that the state thought it appropriate to issue a fish consumption advisory for that species, Ohio EPA spokeswoman Dina Pierce said.
"It would have been different if all three sets came back with microcystin but only the set from June did," Pierce said. "Black crappie samples take in November and August showed no detection whatsoever."
June is a peak algae month due to higher temperatures.
The annual Ohio fish consumption advisory placed on Grand Lake due to mercury contamination, not algae toxins, states that largemouth bass, sunfish and yellow perch from the lake are safe to eat twice per week and meals of all other species should be limited to one per week. That advisory has been in effect for the lake since 2009.
"Basically nothing has changed from last year," Pierce said.
Other species tested in Grand Lake were channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill and common carp. Species tested in Lake Erie were walleye and perch.
The state likely will take more fish tissue samples from Grand Lake and western Lake Erie this year and evaluate and post updates as they become available.
"We haven't changed what we are telling folks, but because we did have that one set of black crappie results, the state will have more fish tissue collected," Pierce said.
In July 2010 the state issued a do not eat fish consumption advisory for Grand Lake as a precaution after microcystin levels spiked. The state lifted the advisory in February 2011 after preliminary fish tissue tests showed the fish were safe.
Grand Lake has had toxic blue-green algae blooms and water advisories the last three summers. Parts of Lake Erie also have experienced increasingly worse toxic algae blooms and advisories in recent years.
The statewide consumption report shows restrictions have been relaxed at four water bodies while stricter limits have been placed on five water bodies.
The Ottawa River in Lucas County, Caesar Creek, LaDue Reservoir and Mill Creek in Union County were identified as water bodies where the public can eat more fish due to lower PCB and mercury levels in fish.
Stricter fish consumption limits were placed on Cross Creek in Jefferson County, portions of the Great Miami River and Lake Erie, the Little Scioto River in southeast Ohio and Mill Creek in Cincinnati due to higher PCB and mercury levels in fish.

Advisory info.:
Access all Ohio fish consumption advisories on Ohio EPA's website at http://www.epa.ohio.gov/dsw/fishadvisory/index.aspx or call 614-644-2160 to request a copy. Fish consumption advisory contact information will be provided to anglers in the Ohio Fishing Regulations booklet with Ohio fishing license purchases, which began Thursday.
To read the Ohio EPA news release on updated fish consumption advisories go to http://www.epa.state.oh.us/ and click on Fish Consumption Advisory Updated for 2012.
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