By Diane Whitten, Nutrition Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County
Are you getting tired of just going for walks with the kids? Try fishing, a great outdoor activity for the whole family. Fishing provides an opportunity to explore new places in parks or along rivers and streams. It’s also a great way to learn about water ecology and the many species of fish that live in the water.
Fishing is fun, and fish are a healthy source of protein. Most of the fish caught in New York State are healthy to eat, however, the New York State Department of Health has advisories in place regarding certain fish from specific bodies of water.
The body of water in our area where many fish advisories are in place is the Hudson River. Fish in the section of the Hudson River between the Hudson Falls Dam and the Federal Dam in Troy contain levels of chemicals called PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) that are unhealthy for anyone to eat.
Because of this, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has designated this section Catch & Release only. Below the Federal Dam, depending on where you fish and what you catch, your catch may be safe to eat. For more information, visit www.health.ny.gov/fish.
In April and May striped bass fishing is highly regarded by serious anglers. Striped bass are well-known and prized by generations of fishermen. Many anglers believe striped bass are not contaminated with PCBs.
The truth is that testing over many decades has shown that some Hudson River striped bass have PCB levels often three to four times higher than other striped bass found south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in Catskill.
How do you know if the striped bass you catch has high PCB levels? The answer is you don’t! For information specific to striped bass, visit www.health.ny.gov/fish/stripedbass.htm.
Remember that anyone 16 and older must have a fishing license when fishing in waters open to public access. A license can be obtained through https://www.takemefishing.org/new-york/fishing-license/ or from the DEC at https://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/ or by phone at 866-933-2257. Walmart also sells fishing licenses.
For more information and to acquire free brochures about the Hudson River Fish Advisories for yourself and others contact Cornell Cooperative Extension at 518-885-8995 or email Diane Whitten at [email protected]
Other helpful websites regarding eating the fish you catch include the following: For maps, visit www.health.ny.gov/fish/maps.htm; for advisories on fish in the Hudson Valley region, visit www.health.ny.gov/fish/HV; for Hudson River advisories, visit www.health.ny.gov/fish/HR and for information on the Hudson River Fish Advisory Outreach Project, visit www.health.ny.gov/hudsonriverfish.
If you fish in the Hudson River – either catch and release or keep the fish you catch – the New York State Department of Health would like to hear from you. Take a confidential Survey Monkey questionnaire at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RBDS22F.