Chesterton Tribune

Michigan issues health advisory for contaminated Lake Michigan trout

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The state of Michigan is warning people about the potential health risk of eating larger lake trout from Lake Michigan because of concerns about possible contaminants.

Michigan’s Department of Community Health recommends people avoid eating trout that are 20 inches or longer, according to The Detroit News. Last year, trout 22 inches or longer were considered potentially hazardous.

Contaminants such as PCBs, dioxins and Chlordane, a chemical compound in banned pesticides are of concern, though officials said the advisory issued by the state does not mean the problem is getting worse.

The chances are slim that real harm can be done by occasionally eating trout from Lake Michigan, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said.

“Like many things in life, there may be risks involved,” said Jim Dexter, acting chief of fisheries for the DNR. “This advisory serves as a guideline, not a mandate.”

But some charter boat operators who cater to anglers on Lake Michigan worry the advisory could hurt business.

A 2003 study showed nearly 42 percent of Great Lakes trout were taken from Lake Michigan.

“They’re the ones you can always get,” Grand Haven charter operator Chad Bard said of trout. “They’re usually hanging around somewhere near the bottom and they’re easier to catch.”

Advisories on what size trout are unsafe to eat also vary between states. Wisconsin recommends avoiding the fish once they reach 29 inches or longer.

“We’re beginning to look at revising some of our advisory procedures for the coming years,” said Dave Wade, environmental health director for Michigan’s Community Health Department. “We’re trying, with this revision, to be a little more consistent regionally.”


Posted 7/18/2011