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Thread: Evaluating safety of self-caught fish? page

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    Aquamarine's Avatar
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    Evaluating safety of self-caught fish?

    If I catch medium-size fish (with a fishing pole) in a nearby lake or river, how can I determine if they are healthy to eat?

    Can I look up information on the body of water and decide from there? Which are the key things to look for?

    Is a lake better or river? If it's a lake, I think odds are the fish was raised in a farm and placed there as a baby by the state's wildlife program? But at least it spent most of its life "in the wild" -- sorta.

    Obviously I would look for the fish having any abnormalities.

    I don't think I'd be willing to spend the time taking a fish to get tested for chemicals. Are there any simple inexpensive home tests?

    Locals are catching fish there and eating them all the time. But just because they do it, doesn't mean I want to. Should I not bother and just buy wild-caught fish from the store?

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    primalpete's Avatar
    primalpete is offline Junior Member
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    Where are you located?

    I live in South FL and the freshwater lakes down here are full of toxins from fertilizers and other chemicals. Some people eat the fish, I wouldn't touch them. North FL is a different story. The fish there live in spring feed lakes and would be just fine to eat.

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    activia's Avatar
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    Usually running water is better because it gets purified as its running down the soil. However, I wouldnt eat fish out of the hudson in CT nor NY. I would eat fish out of a river in Maine tho. I would see if you can find water analysis on that body of water. Also the more populated the area..the more likely its contaminated.
    Primal since March 2011

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    Hm, yeah I think all the main rivers are too polluted and they have warnings not to swim in them, because of water quality. I would want a small creek or river that isn't being fed by another. But then I have to worry about industrial pollutants, pesticides, etc nearby. I read that animal waste is a big pollutant too. The lakes here are man-made. One may be ok.

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    @lex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by activia View Post
    Usually running water is better because it gets purified as its running down the soil. However, I wouldnt eat fish out of the hudson in CT nor NY. I would eat fish out of a river in Maine tho. I would see if you can find water analysis on that body of water. Also the more populated the area..the more likely its contaminated.
    Yep, this is a good rule of thumb to follow. I'd never eat fish out of Lake Champlain because it's polluted as all hell, but the small local ponds and streams that take a 5 or 6 mile hike to reach are a whole other story.
    Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own experience.

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    Your local game wardens, or your state Department of Natural Resources might have the info you are looking for. Talk to the guys that issue the fishing licenses. Even the EPA might help, perhaps, but they usually focus on the obvious issues.

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